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Matthew Arnold

(1822-1888 / Middlesex / England)

Quotations

  • ''The working-class ... is now issuing from its hiding-place to assert an Englishman's heaven-born privilege of doing as he likes, and is beginning to perplex us by marching where it likes, meeting where it likes, bawling what it likes, breaking what it likes.''
    Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), British poet, critic. Culture and Anarchy, ch. 3 (1869).
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  • ''Our society distributes itself into Barbarians, Philistines and Populace; and America is just ourselves with the Barbarians quite left out, and the Populace nearly.''
    Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), British poet, critic. Culture and Anarchy, preface (1859). Arnold held that literature was of paramount importance for the education of the "Philistines."
  • ''The discipline of the Old Testament may be summed up as a discipline teaching us to abhor and flee from sin; the discipline of the New Testament, as a discipline teaching us to die to it.''
    Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), British poet, critic. Culture and Anarchy, ch. 4 (1869).
  • ''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.''
    Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), British poet, critic. Culture and Anarchy, ch. 2 (1869).
  • ''Home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names, and impossible loyalties!''
    Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), British poet, critic. Essays in Criticism, preface, First Series (1865). Referring to Oxford University; see Arnold's comment on "cities."
  • ''Bald as the bare mountain tops are bald, with a baldness full of grandeur.''
    Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), British poet, critic. Essays in Criticism, preface to "Poems of Wordsworth," Second Series (1888).
  • ''Culture, the acquainting ourselves with the best that has been known and said in the world, and thus with the history of the human spirit.''
    Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), British poet, critic. Literature and Dogma, preface (1873).
  • ''The true meaning of religion is thus, not simply morality, but morality touched by emotion.''
    Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), British poet, critic. Literature and Dogma, ch. 1, sct. 2 (1873).
  • ''Let the long contention cease! Geese are swans, and swans are geese. Let them have it how they will! Thou art tired; best be still.''
    Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), British poet, critic. "The Last Word," (1867).

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Worldly Place

Even in a palace, life may be led well!
So spake the imperial sage, purest of men,
Marcus Aurelius. But the stifling den
Of common life, where, crowded up pell-mell,

Our freedom for a little bread we sell,
And drudge under some foolish master's ken
Who rates us if we peer outside our pen--
Match'd with a palace, is not this a hell?

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