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Matthew Arnold
Quotations



"The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next."
- from 'God and the Bible,' 1875

"It is not enough that the Poet should add to the knowledge of men,
it is required of him also that he should add to their happiness."
- the preface to his 1853 edition of Poems
 
"The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next."
- from 'God and the Bible,' 1875
 
"The true meaning of religion is thus not simply morality, but morality touched by emotion."
- 'Literature and Dogma,' preface to 1883 edition, last words
 
"Resolve to be thyself: and know, that he who finds himself, loses his misery."
- 'Self-Dependence'
 
"Truth sits upon the lips of dying men."
- 'Sohrab and Rustum,' 1853
 
"The great aim of culture is the aim of setting ourselves to ascertain what perfection is and to make it prevail."
 
"What tremendous news this is about Lincoln! As they have infringed the Constitution so much already, it is a pity Grant, for his own sake, cannot go a little further and get rid of such an incubus as Johnson. If Lincoln had been killed two years ago it would have been an immense loss to the North, but now he has done his work. All the recent matters have raised America in one's estimation, I think, and even this assassination brings into their history something of that dash of the tragic, romantic, and imaginative, which it has had so little of. _Sic semper tyrannis_ is so unlike anything Yankee or English middle class, both for bad and good."
- On the death of Abraham Lincoln
 
"Our inequality materialises our upper class, vulgarises our middle class, brutalises our lower class."
- Culture and Anarchy
 
"The brave, impetuous heart yields everywhere, To the subtle, contriving head."
 
"With women the heart argues not the mind."
- Merope
 
"My poems represent, on the whole, the main movement of mind of the last quarter of the century, and thus they will probably have their day as people become conscious to themselves of what that movement of mind is, and interested in the literary productions which reflect it. It might be fairly urged that I have less poetical sentiment than Tennyson, and less intellectual vigor and abundance than Browning; yet, because I have perhaps more of a fusion of the two than either of them, and have more regularly applied that fusion to the main line of modern development, I am likely enough to have my turn, as they have had theirs."
- In a letter to his mother, 1869
 
"Poetry is at bottom a criticism of life."
 
"[Poetry] a criticism of life under the conditions fixed for such a criticism by the laws of poetic truth and poetic beauty."
- Essays in Criticism, Second Series, 'The Study of Poetry'
 
"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, Preface
 
"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."
- Literature and Dogma, Preface to edn. of 1873
 
"When Byron's eyes were closed in death
We bowed our head, and held our breath.
He taught us little, but our soul
Had felt him like the thunder roll."
 
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