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Matthew Arnold (1822—1888) poet, writer, and inspector of schools

Joseph Glanvill (1636—1680) Church of England clergyman


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A poem by M. Arnold, published 1853. The poem, pastoral in setting, is based on an old legend, narrated by Glanvill in his The Vanity of Dogmatizing, of an ‘Oxford scholar poor’, who, tired of seeking preferment, joined the gypsies to learn their lore, roamed with them, and still haunts the Oxford countryside. With this is woven a vivid evocation of the landscape and reflections on the contrasts between the single‐minded faith of the scholar‐gypsy and the modern world, ‘the strange disease of modern life, | With its sick hurry, its divided aims’. The tone, as in many of Arnold's best works, is elegiac.

Subjects: Literature.

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