Matthew Arnold


English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic

Author Quotes

Protestantism has the method of Jesus with His secret too much left out of mind; Catholicism has His secret with His method too much left out of mind; neither has His unerring balance, His intuition, His sweet reasonableness. But both have hold of a great truth, and get from it a great power.

Spare me the whispering, crowded room, the friends who come and gape and go, the ceremonious air of gloom - all, which makes death a hideous show.

The critical power is of lower rank than the creative. True; but in assenting to this proposition, one or two things are to be kept in mind. It is undeniable that the exercise of a creative power, that a free creative activity, is the true function of man; it is proved to be so by man's finding in it his true happiness. But it is undeniable, also, that men may have the sense of exercising this free creative activity in other ways than in producing great works of literature or art; if it were not so, all but a very few men would be shut out from the true happiness of all men; they may have it in well-doing, they may have it in learning, they may have it even in criticizing.

The ill he cannot cure a name.

The sea is calm tonight. the tide is full, the moon lies fair upon the straits--on the French coast the light gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. Come to the window, sweet is the night air! Only, from the long line of spray where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, listen! You hear the grating roar of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, at their return, up the high strand . . .

The world hath failed to impart the joy our youth forebodes; failed to fill up the void which in our breasts we bear.

Time gives his hour-glass its due reversal. Their hour is gone.

Change doth unknit the tranquil strength of men.

And see all sights from pole to pole And glance, and nod, and bustle by, And never once possess our soul Before we die.

But be his my special thanks, whose even-balanced soul, from first youth tested up to extreme old age, business could not make dull, nor passion wild; who saw life steadily, and saw it whole.

Coleridge, poet and philosopher wrecked in a mist of opium.

Culture is then properly described not as having its origin in curiosity, but as having its origin in the love of perfection; it is a study of perfection.

For the creation of a master-work of literature two powers must concur, the power of the man and the power of the moment, and the man is not enough without the moment.

Grey time-worn marbles hold the pure Muses. In their cool gallery, by yellow Tiber, they still look fair.

Home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names, and impossible loyalties!

If experience has established any one thing in this world, it has established this: that it is well for any great class and description of men in society to be able to say for itself what it wants, and not to have other classes, the so-called educated and intelligent classes, acting for it as its proctors, and supposed to understand its wants and to provide for them. A class of men may often itself not either fully understand its wants, or adequately express them; but it has a nearer interest and a more sure diligence in the matter than any of its proctors, and therefore a better chance of success.

It is so small a thing to have enjoyed the sun, to have lived light in the spring, to have loved, to have thought, to have done.

Miracles do not happen. .

Now, the whole world hears Or shall hear, ? surely shall hear, at the last, Though men delay, and doubt, and faint, and fail, ? That promise faithful: ? Fear not, little flock! It is your Father's will and joy, to give to you, the Kingdom!

Our society distributes itself into Barbarians, Philistines and Populace; and America is just ourselves with the Barbarians quite left out, and the Populace nearly.

Radiant with ardour divine! Beacons of Hope ye appear! Languor is not in your heart, weakness is not in your word, weariness not on your brow.

Still bent to make some port he knows not where, still standing for some false impossible shore.

The crown of literature is poetry.

The imitators of Shakespeare, fixing their attention on his wonderful power of expression, have directed their imitation to this.

The Sea of Faith Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd. But now I only hear Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, Retreating, to the breath Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear And naked shingles of the world.

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English Poet, Essayist and Cultural Critic