Quotes by Matthew Arnold
Who prop, thou ask'st in these bad days, my mind?
He much, the old man, who, clearest-souled of men,
Saw The Wide Prospect, and the Asian Fen,
And Tmolus hill, and Smyrna bay, though blind.
But each day brings its petty dust
Our soon-chok’d souls to fill,
And we forget because we must,
And not because we will.
Ennobling this dull pomp, the life of kings,
By contemplation of diviner things.
The will is free;
Strong is the soul, and wise, and beautiful;
The seeds of god-like power are in us still;
Gods are we, bards, saints, heroes, if we will!
That which in England we call the middle class is in America virtually the nation.
Yes: in the sea of life enisl’d,
With echoing straits between us thrown,
Dotting the shoreless watery wild,
We mortal millions live alone.
The Celts certainly have it in a wonderful measure.
Peace, peace is what I seek and public calm,
Endless extinction of unhappy hates.
And thou, who didst the stars and sunbeams know,
Self-school'd, self-scann'd, self-honour'd, self-secure,
Didst tread on earth unguess'd at. — Better so!

All pains the immortal spirit must endure,
All weakness which impairs, all griefs which bow,
Find their sole speech in that victorious brow.

Such a price
The Gods exact for song;
To become what we sing.
Calm soul of all things! make it mine
To feel, amid the city’s jar,
That there abides a peace of thine,
Man did not make, and cannot mar.
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.
What really dissatisfies in American civilisation is the want of the interesting, a want due chiefly to the want of those two great elements of the interesting, which are elevation and beauty.
What actions are the most excellent? Those, certainly, which most powerfully appeal to the great primary human affections: to those elementary feelings which subsist permanently in the race,
Conduct is three-fourths of our life and its largest concern.
Style…is a peculiar recasting and heightening, under a certain condition of spiritual excitement, of what a man has to say, in such a manner as to add dignity and distinction to it.
We cannot kindle when we will
The fire that in the heart resides,
The spirit bloweth and is still,
In mystery our soul abides; —
But tasks, in hours of insight willed,
Can be through hours of gloom fulfilled.
Wandering between two worlds, one dead,
The other powerless to be born,
With nowhere yet to rest my head,
Like these, on earth I wait forlorn.
Truth sits upon the lips of dying men,
And falsehood, while I lived, was far from mine.
English civilization — the humanizing, the bringing into one harmonious and truly humane life, of the whole body of English society — that is what interests me.
To thee only God granted
A heart ever new:
To all always open;
To all always true.
The power of the Latin classic is in ''character'', that of the Greek is in ''beauty''. Now character is capable of being taught, learnt, and assimilated: beauty hardly.
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.
For poetry the idea is everything; the rest is a world of illusion, of divine illusion. Poetry attaches its emotion to the idea; the idea ''is'' the fact. The strongest part of our religion today is its
Sanity — that is the great virtue of the ancient literature; the want of that is the great defect of the modern, in spite of its variety and power.
Her cabin’d, ample Spirit,
It flutter’d and fail’d for breath.
To-night it doth inherit
The vasty Hall of Death.
Ah! two desires toss about
The poet's feverish blood;
One drives him to the world without,
And one to solitude.
With women the heart argues, not the mind.
Resolve to be thyself; and know, that he
Who finds himself, loses his misery.
Others abide our question. Thou art free.
We ask and ask — Thou smilest and art still,
Out-topping knowledge.
Nations are not truly great solely because the individuals composing them are numerous, free, and active; but they are great when these numbers, this freedom, and this activity are employed
For rigorous teachers seized my youth,
And purged its faith, and trimm’d its fire,
Show’d me the high white star of Truth,
There bade me gaze, and there aspire.
It is a very great thing to be able to think as you like; but, after all, an important question remains: ''what'' you think.
Strew on her roses, roses,
And never a spray of yew.
In quiet she reposes:
Ah! would that I did too.
Her cabin’d, ample Spirit,
It flutter’d and fail’d for breath.
To-night it doth inherit
The vasty Hall of Death.
Below the surface stream, shallow and light,
Of what we say and feel — below the stream,
As light, of what we think we feel, there flows
With noiseless current, strong, obscure
But often, in the world’s most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us, to know
Whence our lives come and where they go.
With aching hands and bleeding feet
We dig and heap, lay stone on stone;
We bear the burden and the heat
Of the long day and wish’t were done.
Not till the hours of light return
All we have built do we discern.
The kings of modern thought are dumb.
''Eutrapelia''. "A happy and gracious flexibility," Pericles calls this quality of the Athenians...lucidity of thought, clearness and propriety of language, freedom from prejudice and freedom from
And as long as the world lasts, all who want to make progress in righteousness will come to Israel for inspiration, as to the people who have had the sense for righteousness most glowing and
Inequality has the natural and necessary effect, under the present circumstances, of materializing our upper class, vulgarizing our middle class, and brutalizing our lower class.
Cruel, but composed and bland,
Dumb, inscrutable and grand,
So Tiberius might have sat,
Had Tiberius been a cat.
And long we try in vain to speak and act
Our hidden self, and what we say and do
Is eloquent, is well — but ’tis not true!
What shelter to grow ripe is ours?
What leisure to grow wise?
I keep saying‚William Shakespeare‚you are as obscure as life is.
Choose equality.
I am past thirty, and three parts iced over.
The free-thinking of one age is the common sense of the next.
We, in some unknown Power's employ,
Move on a rigorous line;
Can neither, when we will, enjoy,
Nor, when we will, resign.
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