ARNOLD, Matthew (1822-1888). Poet and critic.
3 Autograph Letters Signed (one with initials), two to Mary Sybilla [Lyall] Holland and one probably to her husband, 10 pages 8vo, Cobham, 1881 and 1882 where dated
Asking her to help him to mark examination papers ('I send about 140 French papers; if you can take charge of them, please mark them according to the scale followed by me ... I think the paper is better set than usual, and looking over and marking it is therefore a more straightforward business'), asking her to send the finished parcels to await him at the Athenaeum, and expressing disappointment that he had not seen her at Christmas. [1 January 1881]. In the second letter [5 January 1882] discussing his poetry and in particular two controversial words:
'... I was beginning to feel so dazed & stifled with examination papers that all sense of there being such a thing in the world as poetry seemed gone. The real spur to accomplish the poem was the Drummonds' urging upon me that dear A.P.S. would have so much desired it; and one of my great pleasures, now that it is done, is to think that he would greatly have liked it. ... I am told people do not like pullulating and cecity; cecity I am sure may stand, and I do not myself feel the force of the objections to pullulating. ...'The offending words occur in the 14th stanza of Arnold's long poem written in memory of Arthur Penryn Stanley, dean of Westminster, Westminster Abbey.
The third letter, tentatively dated in pencil 1881 but more probably from 1883, expresses the hope that Mrs Holland's papers would be waiting for him at the Athenaeum, and comments on reaching the age of sixty (Arnold reached that age on 24 December 1882).
'One must have reached sixty, and seen other old people lose their powers, and apprehended the loss of one's own, to appreciate fully such a cordial and delightful testimony as your note. ...'The present letters are not in The Letters of Matthew Arnold, ed. Cecil Y. Lang, 1996-2001, where two other letters to Mrs Holland are published. Mary Sybilla was the wife of Francis James Holland (1828-1907), son of the physician (Sir) Henry Holland.
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