Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/109

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MATTHEW ARNOLD

present, is the one salvation for the race and for reasonable men; The English people, he often said,[1] had entered the prison of Puritanism, and had the key turned upon their spirit for two centuries. To give them the key and to exhort them to use it was his great aim. Heine had called himself a 'brave soldier in the war of the liberation of humanity,' and Arnold took service in the same army. Only—and this was the doctrine upon which he laid emphasis—to fight effectually we must recognise the true leaders, those who really spoke with authority, and who were the true advanced guard in the march to the land of promise. Your individualist would only take off the fetters so as to allow a free fight among the prisoners. The prophet of culture alone can enable us to get free from the prison-house itself. His strong sense of the mischief of literary anarchy appeared in his once famous essay upon the French Academy. Though he guarded himself against recommending an English institution, he was fascinated by the charm of an acknowledged tribunal of good taste, an outward and visible symbol of right reason, of a body which, by its moral authority, should

  1. Essays on Criticism, p. 70.