ARNOLD, MATTHEw ( 1822-88). An English poet and essayist. He was a son of Dr. Thomas Arnold. the famous headmaster of Rugby, and was born December 24, 1822. at Laleham. a vil lage near Staines, in the valley of the Thames. With the exception of a year (1836-37) at Win chester under Dr. .Moberly, later Bishop of Salisbury. Arnold passed his school clays at Rugby. where his "Alarie at Rome" won the prize for poetry (1840). He was elected a classical scholar of Balliol College, Oxford, in November, 1840, but did not go into residence till October of the next year. In 1843 he gained the Newdi gate prize with a poem entitled "Cromwell." and in March, 1845, was elected a fellow of Oriel. Among his colleagues at Oriel were Dean Church, John Earle, subsequently known as professor of Anglo-Saxon in the university, and Arthur Hugh Clough, to whom lie has paid tribute in'"Fhyrsis," justly ranked with "Lycidas" and "Adonals," as one of the finest elegiac poems in the language. After a short period of teaching the classics in the fifth form at Rugby. he became, in 1847, private secretary to the Marquis of Lansdowne, Lord President of the Council. who in 1851 appointed him an inspector of schools. This inspectorship he held until November. 1886. He appears ever to have entertained repugnance toward the details of the official routine—the hearing of recitations by students of training colleges. and the correction of endless examination papers. Yet even here his influence was felt by the English public, and his annual reports, appearing from 1852 to 1882, met with an interest seldom manifested toward such publications. From 1857 to 1867 he was successor to Wharton and Keble in the more con genial post of professor of poetry at Oxford. It was then by his famous series of prelections On Translating Homer and On the Study of Celtic Literature, that he began that reform of Eng lish criticism so important in the history of Nineteenth-Century literature. Three times, in 1859, 1865, and 1885. he was commissioned to visit the Continent for study of the school dis cipline and methods of education in vogue there; and in 1383-84 he came to the United States as a lecturer. The visit to America was repeated in 1386. He died April 15. 1888, and was buried in the churchyard of All Saints at. Lalcham.
Like Dryden and Coleridge, Arnold gained high distinction both as critic and as poet. Even his prize poems, though scarce foreshadowing his later work, display more talent than is usual with a poet's first efforts. In "Alarie at Rome" (Rugby, 1840: reprinted, 18931, a difficult stanza is managed with skill; and the heroic verse of "Cromwell" is smooth and agreeable. In 1849, under the initial "A." be published The Strayed Rereller and Other Poems, containing the beauti ful "Mycerinus" and "The Forsaken Merman." This volume was followed, still under 'A.' by Empedocles on Etna and Other Poems (1852), where first appeared the narrative "Tristram and Iseult," and several lovely lyrics, as "A Summer Night," "The Youth of Nature," "The Youth of Man." and "Faded Leaves." In 1853, Arnold threw off the mask of anonymity. The Poems of that year (3d ed.. 1857) include "Sohrab and Rustum," his popular poem, founded upon a story in Firdansi's Shalt-Namch; "Requiescat," "The Scholar-Gipsy," and many pieces from the earlier collections. "Erupedoelos," however, was omitted as structurally weak. Time now singles it out as one of Arnold's most attractive dra matic poems. The songs of Callicles, the harp player. are among his choicest lyrics. The vol ume was prefaced with an admirable statement of the author's,aim—an essay since famous not only for its brilliancy but also as indicating another field in which Arnold was to become well known. Arnold's other volumes of verse comprise Poems. Second Series (1855), of which the chief new poem is the magnificent episode "Balder Dead." and in which four of the songs of Callieles are grouped as "The Ilarp-Player on Etna": .1Icrope, a rather frigid tragedy (1858) ; New Poems (1801), memorable for "Thyrsis," and containing "Empedocles on Etna" revived; Poems (the first collected edition, 1869; re issued, 1877). in which was included "Rugby Chapel," that noble elegy on the death' of his father: and a fine edition complete in three volumes (1885), containing "Westminster Ab bey." a splendid elegy on Dean Stanley. In this edition Arnold classified his poems as Early Poems, Narrative Poems. Sonnets, Lyric Poems, Elegiac Poems. Dramatic Poems, and Later Poems—a division since carefully observed by ed i tors.