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date: 07 December 2022

Matthew Arnold 1822–88
English poet and essayist 

  1. And we forget because we must
    And not because we will.
    ‘Absence’ (1852)
  2. The Sea of Faith
    Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
    Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
    But now I only hear
    Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar.
    ‘Dover Beach’ (1867) l. 21
  3. Ah, love, let us be true
    To one another!
    ‘Dover Beach’ (1867) l. 29
  4. And we are here as on a darkling plain
    Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
    Where ignorant armies clash by night.
    ‘Dover Beach’ (1867) l. 35
  5. Is it 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.
    Empedocles on Etna (1852) act 1, sc. 2, l. 397
  6. Come to me in my dreams, and then
    By day I shall be well again!
    For then the night will more than pay
    The hopeless longing of the day.
    ‘Faded Leaves’ (1855) no. 5 (first published, 1852, as ‘Longing’)
  7. He spoke, and loosed our heart in tears.
    He laid us as we lay at birth
    On the cool flowery lap of earth.
    of Wordsworth
    ‘Memorial Verses, April 1850’ (1852)
  8. Eternal Passion!
    Eternal Pain!
    of the nightingale
    ‘Philomela’ (1853) l. 31
  9. Resolve to be thyself: and know, that he
    Who finds himself, loses his misery.
    ‘Self-Dependence’ (1852) l. 31
  10. Others abide our question. Thou art free.
    We ask and ask: Thou smilest and art still,
    Out-topping knowledge.
    ‘Shakespeare’ (1849)
  11. Truth sits upon the lips of dying men.
    ‘Sohrab and Rustum’ (1853) l. 656
  12. Wandering between two worlds, one dead,
    The other powerless to be born.
    ‘Stanzas from the Grande Chartreuse’ (1855) l. 85
  13. And that sweet City with her dreaming spires,
    She needs not June for beauty's heightening.
    of Oxford
    ‘Thyrsis’ (1866) l. 19
  14. Who saw life steadily, and saw it whole.
    ‘To a Friend’ (1849)
  15. Culture being a pursuit of our total perfection by means of getting to know, on all the matters which most concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world.
    Culture and Anarchy (1869) preface
  16. The pursuit of perfection, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and light…He who works for sweetness and light united, works to make reason and the will of God prevail.
    Culture and Anarchy (1869) ch. 1; see Swift
  17. The men of culture are the true apostles of equality.
    Culture and Anarchy (1869) ch. 1
  18. Beautiful city! so venerable, so lovely, so unravaged by the fierce intellectual life of our century, so serene!…whispering from her towers the last enchantments of the Middle Age…Home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names, and impossible loyalties!
    of Oxford
    Essays in Criticism First Series (1865) preface
  19. In poetry, no less than in life, he is ‘a beautiful and ineffectual angel, beating in the void his luminous wings in vain’.
    Essays in Criticism Second Series (1888) ‘Shelley’ (quoting from his own essay on Byron in the same work)
  20. Poetry is at bottom a criticism of life.
    Essays in Criticism Second Series (1888) ‘Wordsworth’
  21. The true meaning of religion is thus not simply morality, but morality touched by emotion.
    Literature and Dogma (1873) ch. 1
  22. The main effort, for now many years, has been a critical effort; the endeavours, in all branches of knowledge—theology, philosophy, history, art, science—to see the object as in itself it really is.
    On Translating Homer (1861) Lecture 2
  23. People think that I can teach them style. What stuff it all is! Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style.
    G. W. E. Russell Collections and Recollections (1898) ch. 13