Matthew Arnold

(1822-1888 / Middlesex / England)

Matthew Arnold Quotes

  • ''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).
    33 person liked.
    11 person did not like.
  • ''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."
    24 person liked.
    12 person did not like.
  • ''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).
    29 person liked.
    11 person did not like.
  • ''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).
    23 person liked.
    16 person did not like.
  • ''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."
    22 person liked.
    15 person did not like.
  • ''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).
    2 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • ''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).
    5 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • ''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).
    4 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • ''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).
    3 person liked.
    4 person did not like.

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Best Poem of Matthew Arnold

A Wish

I ask not that my bed of death
From bands of greedy heirs be free;
For these besiege the latest breath
Of fortune's favoured sons, not me.

I ask not each kind soul to keep
Tearless, when of my death he hears;
Let those who will, if any, weep!
There are worse plagues on earth than tears.

I ask but that my death may find
The freedom to my life denied;
Ask but the folly of mankind,
Then, at last, to quit my side.

Spare me the whispering, crowded room,
The friends who come, and gape, and go;
The ceremonious air of gloom -
All which makes ...

Read the full of A Wish

Quiet Work

One lesson, Nature, let me learn of thee,
One lesson which in every wind is blown,
One lesson of two duties kept at one
Though the loud world proclaim their enmity--

Of toil unsever'd from tranquility!
Of labor, that in lasting fruit outgrows
Far noisier schemes, accomplish'd in repose,
Too great for haste, too high for rivalry.

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