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MATTHEW ARNOLD
English poet and critic
(1822 - 1888)
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Joy comes and goes, hope ebbs and flows
  Like the wave;
    Change doth unknit the tranquil strength of men.
      Love tends life a little grace,
        A few sad smiles; and then,
          Both are laid in one cold place,
            In the grave.
      - A Question (st. 1) [Change]

And see all sights from pole to pole
  And glance, and nod, and bustle by,
    And never once possess our soul
      Before we die.
      - A Southern Night (st. 18) [Soul]

Odin, thou whirlwind, what a threat is this
  Thou threatenest what transcends thy might, even thine,
    For of all powers the mightiest far art thou,
      Lord over men on earth, and Gods in Heaven;
        Yet even from thee thyself hath been withheld
          One thing--to undo what thou thyself hast ruled.
      - Balder Dead--The Funeral [Power]

The Greek word euphuia, a finely tempered nature, gives exactly the notion of perfection as culture brings us to perceive it; a harmonious perfection, a perfection in which the characters of beauty and intelligence are both present, which unites "the two noblest of things"--as Swift . . . most happily calls them in his Battle of the Books, "the two noblest of things, sweetness and light."
      - Culture and Anarchy [Sweetness]

The pursuit of the perfect, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and light.
      - Culture and Anarchy [Sweetness]

Ah, love, let us be true
  To one another! for the world, which seems
    To lie before us like a land of dreams,
      So various, so beautiful, so new,
        Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
          Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain.
      - Dover Beach [Love]

I met a preacher there I knew, and said,
  Ill and overworked, how fare you in this scene?
    Bravely! said he; for I of late have been
      Much cheered with thoughts of Christ, the living bread.
      - East London [Preaching]

If Paris that brief flight allow,
  My humble tomb explore!
    It bears: "Eternity, be thou
      My refuge!" and no more.
      - Epitaph [Epitaphs]

The eloquent voice of our century uttered, shortly before leaving the world, a warning cry against the "Anglo-Saxon contagion."
      - Essay on Criticism, Second Series
        [Eloquence]

[Oxford] Home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs and unpopular names and impossible loyalties.
      - Essays in Criticism
         (closing paragraph of preface) [Failure]

I must not say that she was true,
  Yet let me say that she was fair;
    And they, that lovely face who view,
      They should not ask if truth be there.
      - Euphrosyne [Beauty]

On one she smiled, and he was blest;
  She smiles elsewhere--we make a din!
    But 'twas not love which heaved her breast,
      Fair child!--it was the bliss within.
      - Euphrosyne [Women]

What is it to grow old?
  Is it to lose the glory of the form,
    The lustre of the eye?
      Is it for Beauty to forego her wreath?
        Yes; but not this alone.
      - Growing Old [Age]

Culture is "To know the best that has been said and thought in the world."
      - Literature and Dogma (preface) [Education]

Culture is the passion for sweetness and light, and (what is more) the passion for making them prevail.
      - Literature and Dogma--Preface [Sweetness]

Time may restore us in his course
  Goethe's sage mind and Byron's force;
    But where will Europe's latter hour
      Again find Wordworth's healing power?
      - Memorial Verses [Wordsworth, William]

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 'twere done.
        Not till the hours of light return
          All we have built as we discern.
      - Morality (st. 2) [Life]

Six years--six little years--six drops of time.
      - Mycerinus (st. 11) [Time]

The East bow'd low before the blast,
  In patient, deep disdain.
    She let the legions thunder past,
      And plunged in thought again.
      - Obermann Once More (st. 28) [Countries]

Hark! ah, the nightingale--
  The tawny-throated!
    Hark from that moonlit cedar what a burst!
      What triumph! hark!--what pain!
        . . . .
          Again--thou hearest?
            Eternal passion!
              Eternal pain!
      - Philomela (l. 32) [Nightingales]

Children of men! the unseen Power, whose eye
  Forever doth accompany mankind,
    Hath look'd on no religion scornfully
      That men did ever find.
      - Progress (st. 10) [Religion]

Nature's great law, and law of all men's minds?--
  To its own impulse every creature stirs;
    Live by thy light, and earth will live by hers!
      - Religious Isolation (st. 4) [Nature]

Her cabin'd ample spirit,
  It fluttered and fail'd for breath;
    Tonight it doth inherit
      The vasty hall of death.
      - Requiescat [Death]

This strange disease of modern life,
  With its sick hurry, its divided aims.
      - Scholar-Gypsy (st. 21) [Life]

Others abide our question. Thou art free.
  We ask and ask--Thou smilest and art still,
    Out-topping knowledge.
      - Shakespeare [Shakespeare]


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