The extracts given below have been taken from The Letters of Matthew Arnold to Arthur Hugh Clough, ed. H. F. Lowry. Though only the last of these was written after Ambarvalia was published, they are all related to the contents of that volume, most of which Clough showed his friend in MSS.
i) The following extract from a letter Lowry dates ‘early December 1847’ is Arnold’s reaction to reading in MSS. some of the poems Clough later included in Ambarvalia’.
…I have had so much reluctance to read these, which I now return? that I surely must be destined to receive some good from them. —I have never been reminded of Wordsworth in reading them by rhythms or expressions: but of Tennyson sometimes and repeatedly of Milton— Little hast thou bested etc, e.g., [from ‘In a Lecture-Room’] sounds to me Miltonically thought and expressed.
I have abstained from all general criticism, but here and there put a word against an expression: but it was done at a first reading, these are to be very slightly attended to. —It would amuse you to see how treatments differ, if you saw some things in which I have come on the same topics as you: those of your 4th poem, 1st vol. e.g. [The 4th poem in the copybook is an earlier version of ‘Like a child/In some strange garden left awhile, alone’ (Lowry)].
—The 2nd poem in the 1st volume [A poem which begins ‘Enough,