of life.” What he seems to have meant is that poetry is the crowning fruit of a criticism of life; that just as the poet’s metrical effects are and must be the result of a thousand semiconscious generalizations upon the laws of cause and effect in metric art, so the beautiful things he says about life and the beautiful pictures he paints of life are the result of his generalizations upon life as he passes through it, and consequently that the value of his poetry consists in the beauty and the truth of his generalizations. But this is saying no more than is said in the line—
“Rien n’est beau que le vrai; le vrai seul est aimable”—
or in the still more famous lines—
|“‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’—that is all|
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
To suppose that Arnold confounded the poet with the writer of pensées would be absurd. Yet having decided that poetry consists of generalizations on human life, in reading poetry he kept on the watch for those generalizations, and at last seemed to think that the less and not the more they are hidden behind the dramatic action, and the more unmistakably they are intruded as generalizations, the better. For instance, in one of his essays he quotes those lines from the “Chanson de Roland” of Turoldus, where Roland, mortally wounded, lays himself down under a pine-tree with his face turned towards Spain and the enemy, and begins to “call many things to remembrance; all the lands which his valour conquered, and pleasant France, and the men of his lineage, and Charlemagne, his liege lord, who nourished him”—
|“De plusurs choses à remembrer li prist,|
De tantes teres cume li bers cunquist,
De dulce France, des humes de sun ligu,
De Carlemagne sun seignor ki l’nurrit.”
“That,” says Arnold, “is primitive work, I repeat, with an undeniable poetic quality of its own. It deserves such praise, and such praise is sufficient for it.” Then he contrasts it with a famous passage in Homer—that same passage which is quoted in the article Poetry, for the very opposite purpose to that of Arnold’s, quoted indeed to show how the epic poet, leaving the dramatic action to act as chorus, weakens the ἀπάτη of the picture—the passage in the Iliad (iii 243-244) where the poet, after Helen’s pathetic mention of her brother’s comments on the causes of their absence, “criticizes life” and generalizes upon the impotence of human intelligence, the impotence even of human love, to pierce the darkness in which the web of human fate is woven. He appends Dr Hawtrey’s translation:—
|Ὤς φάτο τοὐς δ᾽ ἤδη κάτεχεν φυσίζοος αἶα|
ἐν Λακεδαίμονι αὖθι, φἰλῃ ἐν πατρίδι γαίῃ.
|“So said she; they long since in Earth’s soft arms were reposing|
There, in their own dear land, their fatherland, Lacedaemon.”
“We are here,” says Arnold, “in another world, another order of poetry altogether; here is rightly due such supreme praise as that which M. Vitel gives to the Chanson de Roland. If our words are to have any meaning, if our judgments are to have any solidity, we must not heap that supreme praise upon poetry of an order immeasurably inferior.” He does not see that the two passages cannot properly be compared at all. In the one case the poet gives us a dramatic picture; in the other; a comment on a dramatic picture.
Perhaps, indeed, the place Arnold held and still holds as a critic is due more to his exquisite felicity in expressing his views than to the penetration of his criticism. Nothing can exceed the easy grace of his prose at the best. It is conversational and yet absolutely exact in the structure of the sentences; and in spite of every vagary, his distinguishing note is urbanity. Keen-edged as his satire could be, his writing for the most part is as urbane as Addison’s own. His influence on contemporary criticism and contemporary ideals was considerable, and generally wholesome. His insistence on the necessity of looking at “the thing in itself,” and the need for acquainting oneself with “the best that has been thought and said in the world,” gave a new stimulus alike to originality and industry in criticism; and in his own selection of subjects—such as Joubert, or the de Guérins—he opened a new world to a larger class of the better sort of readers, exercising in this respect an awakening influence in his own time akin to that of Walter Pater a few years afterwards. The comparison with Pater might indeed be pressed further, and yet too far. Both were essentially products of Oxford. But Arnold, whose description of that “home of lost causes, and forsaken beliefs, and unpopular names, and impossible loyalties,” is in itself almost a poem, had a classical austerity in his style that savoured more intimately of Oxford tradition, and an ethical earnestness even in his most flippant moments which kept him notably aloof from the more sensuous school of aesthetics.
The first collected edition of Arnold’s poems was published in 1869 in two volumes, the first consisting of Narrative and Elegiac Poems, and the second of Dramatic and Lyric Poems. Other editions appeared in 1877, 1881; a library edition (3 vols., 1885); a one-volume reprint of the poems printed in the library edition with one or two additions (1890). Publications by Matthew Arnold not mentioned in the foregoing article include: England and the Italian Question (1859), a pamphlet; A French Eton; or, Middle Class Education and the State (1864); Higher Schools and Universities in Germany (1874), a partial reprint from Schools and Universities on the Continent (1868); A Bible Reading for Schools; The Great Prophecy of Israel’s Restoration, an arrangement of Isaiah, chs. xl.-lxvi. (1872), republished with additions and varying titles in 1875 and 1883; an edition of the Six Chief Lives from Johnson’s Lives of the Poets (1878); editions of the Poems of Wordsworth (1879), and the Poetry of Byron (1881), for the Golden Treasury Series, with prefatory essays reprinted in the second series of Essays in Criticism; an edition of Letters, Speeches and Tracts on Irish Affairs by Edmund Burke (1881); and many contributions to periodical literature. The Letters of Matthew Arnold (1848–1888) were collected and arranged by George W. E. Russell in 1895, reprinted 1901. Matthew Arnold’s Note Books, with a Preface by the Hon. Mrs Wodehouse, appeared in 1902. A complete and uniform edition of The Works of Matthew Arnold (15 vols., 1904–1905) includes the letters as edited by Mr Russell. Vol. iii. contains a complete bibliography of his works, many of the early editions of which are very valuable, by Mr T. B. Smart, who published a separate bibliography in 1892. A valuable note on the rather complicated subject of Arnold’s bibliography is given by Mr H. Buxton Forman in Arnold’s Poems, Narrative, Elegiac and Lyric (Temple Classics, 1900).It was Arnold’s expressed desire that his biography should not be written, and before his letters were published they underwent considerable editing at the hands of his family. There are, however, monographs on Matthew Arnold (1899) in Modern English Writers by Prof. Saintsbury, and by Mr H. W. Paul (1902), in the English Men of Letters Series. These two works are supplemented by Mr G. W. E. Russell, who, as the editor of Arnold’s letters, is in a sense the official biographer, in Matthew Arnold (1904, Literary Lives Series). There are also studies of Arnold in Mr J. M. Robertson’s Modern Humanists (1891), and in W. H. Hudson’s Studies in Interpretation (1896), in Sir J. G. Fitch’s Thomas and Matthew Arnold (1897), and a review of some of the works above mentioned in the Quarterly for January 1905 by T. H. Warren. (T. W.-D.; J. G. F.)
ARNOLD, SAMUEL (1740–1802), English composer, was born at London on the 10th of August 1740. He received a thorough musical education at the Chapel Royal, and when little more than twenty years of age was appointed composer at Covent Garden theatre. Here, in 1765, he produced his popular opera, The Maid of the Mill, many of the songs in which were selected from the works of Italian composers. In 1776 he transferred his services to the Haymarket theatre. In 1783 he was made composer to George III. Between 1765 and 1802 he wrote as many as forty-three operas, after-pieces and pantomimes, of which the best were The Maid of the Mill, Rosamond, Inkle and Yarico, The Battle of Hexham, The Mountaineers. His oratorios included The Cure of Saul (1767), Abimelech (1768), The Resurrection (1773), The Prodigal Son (1777) and Elisha (1795). In 1783 he became organist to the Chapel Royal. In 1786 he began an edition of Handel’s works, which extended to 40 volumes, but was never completed. In 1793 he became organist of Westminster Abbey, where he was buried after his death on the 22nd of October 1802. Arnold is chiefly remembered now for the publication of his Cathedral Music, being a collection in score of the most valuable and useful compositions for that service by the several English masters of the last 200 years (1790).
ARNOLD, THOMAS (1795–1842), English clergyman and headmaster of Rugby school, was born at West Cowes, in the Isle of Wight, on the 13th of June 1795. He was the son of William and Martha Arnold, the former of whom occupied the