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 Post subject: STAGIRIUS
PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:31 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:03 pm
Posts: 19
Location: George Town Tasmania Australia
In 1844 the British poet Matthew Arnold(1822-1888), who had started writing poetry in his teens, began writing a poem entitled Stagirius.1 That same year Arnold graduated from Oxford and began teaching the classics at Rugby School. Arnold’s poem Stagirius was not published until 1849 and then in 1855. In this poem Arnold asks release from doubt and spiritual pride. In 1857 he was appointed Professor of Poetry at Oxford. His poetry reveals the spiritual unrest and distraction of the age and his attraction to certain Greek and Roman guides and modern poetic teachers. –Ron Price wit thanks to “Selections from the Prose Works of Matthew Arnold,” The Project Gutenburg Ebook, 2004.

They were busy years for you,
the most turbulent and the most
glorious in the greatest cycle of
religious history, they are, too,
the most spectacular, the most
tragic and the most eventful….

But, as you say, Stagirius was mad
and the world was mad, you knew
only too well with the severity of
that inward tempest. That uniform
attachment to a simple model with
its abstruse and arbitrary eschatology
had become ridiculous. You were not
fit for any evangelical poverty, for any
evangelical anything; you could not
consume your life in penance, solitude
and religious zeal, you had too sociable
a demeanour, you sought that wide and
luminous view with its sweet calm and
sought a oneness with the life of humankind.

Ron Price
6 April 2007

1 Stagirius was a young friend of Chrysostom.(349-407 AD) They belonged to a brotherhood of monastics. He was not able to endure the ascetic disciplines of the monastic order because of his affluent background. He lived at the time of the famous ascetic Simeon the Stylite who has become famous in history for his asceticism.

married for 47 years; teacher for 32, a student for 18, a writer & editor for 15, and a Baha'i for 55(in 2014).

 Post subject: Re: STAGIRIUS
PostPosted: Thu Sep 04, 2014 5:12 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:03 pm
Posts: 19
Location: George Town Tasmania Australia
Since no one has replied in over 7 years, I'll add some more on Matthew Arnold.-Ron Price, Tasmania
Confused Alarms of Struggle and Flight

Part 1:

I went for my daily constitutional-walk a little earlier today in mid-afternoon in this the early evening of my life. I dropped-in on a colleague, an old-school principal now retired, had an early dinner of home-made soup with a hot-salami sandwich. I then settled-down for my daily sleep. On waking, putting in my false-teeth and going downstairs, I saw the closing ceremonies of the 31st Australian Masters. They were played at the Victoria Golf Club from 11 to 14 November 2010. I have no interest in golf, although I like golf’s quiet sound, voice-over, the gentle voices and all the green on the television screen. I also like my wife of more than 35 years.

My wife enjoys watching golf and I enjoy watching her, at least most of the time. Familiarity, as we all know breeds, or can breed, many things. After about five minutes of the golf’s closing ceremonies my wife pressed the remote button and up popped ABC1 and its A Poet’s Guide to Britain.1 It was the content of this program which has led to this prose-poem.-Ron Price with thanks to ABC1 TV, A Poet’s Guide to Britain: Matthew Arnold, 5:00-5:30 p.m., 14 November 2010.

Part 2:

I first came across your work, Matthew,
back in 1960 when my life had scarcely
begun, when I had begun to fall in love
with girls who never knew my feelings,
when I was also in love with baseball &
getting as high a set of marks as I could
at high school. Poetry was the last thing
on my mind, that’s for sure, except that
I had to understand the poems for those
essays and exams, if I wanted to get into
university, and avoid all those tedious &
boring jobs which people got who didn’t
go to university, get a degree, a good CV.

I had no interest in the practical subjects
like woodwork & that metalwork, the art
and crafts and all those extra-curricular
activities kids took-part in way back then.

I must say, Matthew, that I came to your
work so slowly over these last fifty-plus
years. Dover Beach which this TV program
focused-on has become one of my poems
in the favourite, category, though.......Its
eternal note of sadness which you struck;
Oxford’s first Professor of Poetry in 1857,
the first who was not a cleric also struck a
note, a sign of much that was to come in my
world and our world today, Matthew. That
sea of faith has gone, as you say. You could
only hear its long & melancholy withdrawing
roar & it has been withdrawing for these last
sixteen decades at least in some of its forms.1

We are still, like you, Matthew: Swept with
those confused alarms of struggle and flight
Where ignorant armies clash by night.2 & 3

1 Fundamentalism, of course, and a pervasive secular spirituality have become very dominant forms of religious influence in our global world.
2 These are the last two lines of Arnold’s famous poem Dover Beach.
3 See Matthew Arnold, ed. M. Allott and R. Super, Oxford UP, 1986. It was in this book that I came across the words of Goethe: (1) “Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world;” and (2) "To act is easy; to think is hard."

Ron Price
14/11/'10 to 4/9/'14.

married for 47 years; teacher for 32, a student for 18, a writer & editor for 15, and a Baha'i for 55(in 2014).

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