".. .. For all their talk of peace and harmony with the land, the High Elves have a surprisingly violent history. They are much like a gardener who speaks of the serenity of her garden, but will not hesitate to prune plants, poison vermin, and uproot those plantings that did not bear fruit. We brief visitors will marvel at their creation, how serene and beautiful it is, how peaceful. What we don't see is the bloody and often brutal effort necessary to achieve this effect.
Brakor Melthorpe argued in his tome on Mathosian pre-history that this was precisely how that culture came about. The elves enacted a long standing prophesy over centuries to change the nature of man. The mercurial character of the Eth was not to their liking, so they evolved human culture into the honor bound, spiritual Mathosian. If this is true then it certainly explains the many conflicts between the High Elves and dwarves in our history. It was their attempt to shape us. I credit the dwarven innate stubbornness and contrary streak for forestalling the Elven designs; unless those are precisely the characteristics they wished out of us.
Individually, however, High Elves come across as a cultured, refined, and achingly beautiful people. Their society is egalitarian by nature, and largely invisible. Only in the forest of Silverwood have they constructed much in the way of permanent structures. The majority of the High Elves walk the land, looking for signs from their goddess, enacting her will upon those who would bring harm to the land. These groups are either a blessing or a scourge to the local populace, depending on where their arrows are pointed.
Occasionally, one of these knight errants will grow tired or curious of this life and settle in a foreign town and live like the rest of of us mortals, learning a trade, raising a family, and enjoying the serenity that comes from not shouldering the burden of the world's problems."
~~The history of the High Elves as told by Historian Gulgot Rampnor, a dwarven historian
Reference: The words of this lore excerpt are taken directly from the book "The history of the High Elves", which can be found in game by completing the artifact set that awards it! It's funny to think that the Mathosian people today were molded by the High Elves into the kind of civilization they wanted. I guess they took their covenant to their goddess pretty seriously, eh?