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Matthew Arnold Quotes


An English poet, essayist and cultural critic.
(1822 - 1888)

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A beautiful and ineffectual angel [Shelley], beating in the void his luminous wings in vain.
 

And as long as the world lasts, all who want to make progress in righteousness will come to Israel for inspiration, as to the people who have had the sense for righteousness most glowing and strongest; and in hearing and reading the words Israel has uttered for us, carers for conduct will find a glow and a force they could find nowhere else.
 

And we forget because we must and not because we will.
 

Bald as the bare mountain tops are bald, with a baldness full of grandeur.
 

Because thou must not dream, thou need not despair.
 

Burke is so great because, almost alone in England, he brings thought to bear upon politics, he saturates politics with thought.
 

Coleridge, poet and philosopher wrecked in a mist of opium.
 

Conduct is three-fourths of our life and its largest concern.
 

Critical power...tends to make an intellectual situation of which the creative power can profitably avail itself. It tends to establish an order of ideas, if not absolutely true, yet true by comparison with that which it displaces; to make the best ideas prevail.
 

Culture is then properly described not as having its origin in curiosity, but as having its origin in the love of perfection; it is a study of perfection.
 

Culture is to know the best that has been said and thought in the world.
 

English civilization - the humanizing, the bringing into one harmonious and truly humane life, of the whole body of English society-that is what interests me.
 

Everything in our political life tends to hide from us that there is anything wiser than our ordinary selves.
 

Experience - making all futures, fruits of all the pasts.
[Experience]
 

For poetry the idea is everything; the rest is a world of illusion, of divine illusion. Poetry attaches its emotion to the idea; the idea is the fact. The strongest part of our religion today is its unconscious poetry.
 

For the creation of a masterwork of literature two powers must concur, the power of the man and the power of the moment, and the man is not enough without the moment.
 

France, famed in all great arts, in none supreme.
 

Greatness is a spiritual condition worthy to excite love, interest, and admiration; and the outward proof of possessing greatness is that we excite love, interest, and admiration.
 

Here is the element or power of conduct, of intellect and knowledge, of beauty, and of social life and manners, and all needful to build up a complete human life. - We have instincts responding to them all, and requiring them all, and we are perfectly civilized only when all these instincts of our nature - all these elements in our civilization have been adequately recognized and satisfied.
[Civilization]
 

Home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names, and impossible loyalties!
 


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