Matthew Arnold


English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic

Author Quotes

Genius is mainly an affair of energy.

He will find one English book and one only, where, as in the "Iliad" itself, perfect plainness of speech is allied with perfect nobleness; and that book is the Bible.

I keep saying, Shakespeare, Shakespeare, you are as obscure as life is.

It always seems to me that the right sphere for Shelley's genius was the sphere of music, not of poetry.

Light half-believers of our casual creeds, who never deeply felt, nor clearly will d, whose insight never has borne fruit in deeds, whose vague resolves never have been fulfilled.

Nor bring to see me cease to live, some doctor full of phrase and fame, to shake his sapient head, and give the ill he cannot cure a name.

One has often wondered whether upon the whole earth there is anything so unintelligent, so unapt to perceive how the world is really going, as an ordinary young Englishman of our upper class.

Poetry is at bottom a criticism of life.

Sin is not a monster to be mused on, but an impotence to be got rid of.

The bent of our time is towards science, towards knowing things as they are?

The great apostle of the Philistines, Lord Macaulay.

The people who believe most that our greatness and welfare are proved by our being very rich, and who most give their lives and thoughts to becoming rich, are just the very people whom we call the Philistines. Culture says: ?Consider these people, then, their way of life, their habits, their manners, the very tones of their voice; look at them attentively; observe the literature they read, the things which give them pleasure, the words which come forth out of their mouths, the thoughts which make the furniture of their minds; would any amount of wealth be worth having with the condition that one was to become just like these people by having it??

The way, truth, and life have been found in Christianity, and will not now be found outside of it.

This strange disease of modern life, with its sick hurry, its divided aims.

To thee only God granted a heart ever new: to all always open; to all always true.

All this I bear, for, what I seek, I know: Peace, peace is what I seek, and public calm: Endless extinction of unhappy hates.

Bald as the bare mountain tops are bald, with a baldness full of grandeur.

Charge once more, then, and be dumb! Let the victors, when they come, when the forts of folly fall, find thy body by the wall.

Culture is "to know the best that has been said and thought in the world."

Fate gave, what Chance shall not control, his sad lucidity of soul.

Go, for they call you, shepherd, from the hill.

Hear it, O Thyrsis, still our tree is there!?Ah, vain! These English fields, this upland dim, these brambles pale with mist engarlanded, that lone, sky-pointing tree, are not for him; to a boon southern country he is fled, and now in happier air, wandering with the great Mother?s train divine (And purer or more subtle soul than thee,

I knew the mass of men conceal'd their thoughts, for fear that if reveal'd they would by other men be met with blank indifference.

It is ? last stage of all ? when we are frozen up within, and quite the phantom of ourselves, to hear the world applaud the hollow ghost which blamed the living man.

Like driftwood spares which meet and pass Upon the boundless ocean-plain, So on the sea of life, alas! Man nears man, meets, and leaves again.

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English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic