boars hill

Matthew Arnold was a British poet and cultural critic from the 19th century. He earned his living working for “Her Majesty’s Inspector of Schools”.

Arnold is nowadays renowned for coining the phrase that refers to the harmonious architecture of the buildings in Oxford, the city and its university – the “city of dreaming spires”.

Indeed, Arnold’s poem “Thyrsis” actually describes the view of Oxford from Boars Hill, a hill hamlet 3 miles southwest of Oxford. His poetry actually encouraged people to visit the hill and indeed settle there.

Many people can quote the “city of dreaming spires”, but if you want to impress them more, perhaps quote the full sentence below!


And that sweet city with her dreaming spires.


She needs not June for beauty’s heightening.

Photo by Andrew Gray (CC BY-SA 3.0)