Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold was a British
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

 and cultural critic
Cultural critic
A cultural critic is a critic of a given culture, usually as a whole and typically on a radical basis. There is significant overlap with social and cultural theory.-Terminology:...

 who worked as an inspector of schools. He was the son of Thomas Arnold
Thomas Arnold
Dr Thomas Arnold was a British educator and historian. Arnold was an early supporter of the Broad Church Anglican movement...

, the famed headmaster of Rugby School
Rugby School
Rugby School is a co-educational day and boarding school located in the town of Rugby, Warwickshire, England. It is one of the oldest independent schools in Britain.-History:...

, and brother to both Tom Arnold
Tom Arnold (academic)
Tom Arnold , also known as Thomas Arnold the Younger, was a British literary scholar.- Life :He was the second son of Thomas Arnold, headmaster of Rugby School, and younger brother of the poet Matthew Arnold...

, literary professor, and William Delafield Arnold
William Delafield Arnold
William Delafield Arnold was a British author and colonial administrator.He was the fourth son of Thomas Arnold, the headmaster of Rugby School. His older brothers included the poet and critic Matthew Arnold and the literary scholar Tom Arnold...

, novelist and colonial administrator. Matthew Arnold has been characterized as a sage writer
Sage writing
Sage writing is term used to describe a genre of creative nonfiction popular in the Victorian era. The concept originates with John Holloway's 1953 book The Victorian Sage: Studies in Argument....

, a type of writer who chastises and instructs the reader on contemporary social issues.
The Reverend John Keble
John Keble
John Keble was an English churchman and poet, one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement, and gave his name to Keble College, Oxford.-Early life:...

, who would become one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement
Oxford Movement
The Oxford Movement was a movement of High Church Anglicans, eventually developing into Anglo-Catholicism. The movement, whose members were often associated with the University of Oxford, argued for the reinstatement of lost Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican liturgy...

, stood as godfather to Matthew.

My special thanks, whose even-balanced soul,From first youth tested up to extreme old age,Business could not make dull, nor passion wild;Who saw life steadily, and saw it whole.

To a Friend (1849), line 9-12.