Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/134

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122
STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

struggle will too probably endure till we have ceased to be personally interested.

I cannot, indeed, get it out of my head that we slow-footed and prosaic persons sometimes make our ground surer; and that, for example, poor Bishop Colenso, whom Arnold ridiculed as the typical Philistine critic, did some good service with his prosaic arithmetic. There are cases in which the four rules are better than the finest critical insight. But there is room for poets as well as for arithmeticians; and Arnold, as at once poet and critic, has the special gift—if I may trust my own experience—of making one feel silly and tasteless when one has uttered a narrow-minded, crude, or ungenerous sentiment; and I dip into his writings to receive a shock, unpleasant at times, but excellent in its effects as an intellectual tonic.