Poems, 1840-1867 (eBook)
by Matthew Arnold (Author)
Oxford, in 1841, with an open scholarship. He had written a prize poem at Rugby — the subject, Alam'c at Rome; and on this performance he improved by taking the Newdigate in 1843 — the subject, Cromwell. But we need waste no time on these exercises. It is better worth noting that the boy had been used to spending his holidays, and now spent a great part of his vacations, at Fox How, near Grasmere, a house which Dr. Arnold had taken to refresh his eyes and his spirits after the monotonous ridge and furrow, field and hedgerow, around Rugby; and that, as Mr. Herbert Paul puts it, young Matthew 'thus grew up under the shadow of Wordsworth, whose brilliant and penetrating inter preter he was destined to become'. Genius collects early, and afterwards distils from recollection; and if its spirit, like that of the licentiate Pedro Garcias, is to be disinterred, he who would find Matthew Arnold's must dig in and around Fox How and Oxford. At Oxford, which he loved passionately, he 'missed his first but atoned for this, three months later, by winning a fellowship at Oriel. (this was in 1844 — 5. His father had died in He stayed up, however, but a short while after taking his degree; went back to Rugby as an assistant master relinquished this in 1847 to become private secretary to Lord Lansdowne, then President of the Council and was by him appointed in 1851 to an Inspectorship of Schools, which he retained for five-and-thirty years. In 1851, too, he married Frances Lucy Wightman, daughter of a Judge of the Queen's Bench; and so settled down at the same time to domestic happiness and to daily Work which, if dull sometimes, was not altogether ungrateful, as it was never less than conscientiously performed.