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Dover Beach (Matthew Arnold)
Transcript of Dover Beach (Matthew Arnold)
The sea is calm tonight
Only, from the long line of spray
Only where the sea water splashes the land
Sophocles long ago
Long ago Sophocles
The Sea of Faith
The expanse of religion
Ah, love, let us be true
We should all love and be loyal
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Upon the narrow channel; the light on the French coast
Glimmering and vast, out in the traquil bay
Sparkling and grand, out in the calm bay
Come to the window, sweet is the night air!
Come to the window and smell the fresh air!
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
At the edge of the moonlit shore,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Listen! you can hear the rough sound
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
Of pebbles being drawn in by the waves
At their return, up the high strand,
And thrown up the shore,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
The process repeating,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
With the shaky rhythm reflecting
The eternal note of sadness in.
A tone of sadness.
Heard it on the Aegean and it brought
Heard the tone of sadness emanating from the Aegean Sea and thought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
of the impending uncertainty.
Of human misery; we Find also in the sound a thought, Hearing it by this distant northern Sea.
Hearing the sound of the northern sea brings thoughts of human misery.
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Was once at its peak, seen around the world
Lay like folds of a bright girdle furled.
Enfolding the Earth with a firm grasp.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Its slow and depressing recession
Retreating, to the breath
Drawing its last breath
Of the night wind, down the vast edges drear
From the night wind, falling from its glory
And naked shingles of the world.
Leaving the world empty in its wake.
To one another! for the world, which seems,
To one another! Because the world,
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
Which at first seems like a dream,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Beautiful and new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love nor light,
Is truly absent of love and joy
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And lacks empathy;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
We are left in a darkening world
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Full of fear and struggle,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
Where ignorance causes ever-worsening conflict.
Gleams and is gone; the cliff's on England stand
Shines and disappears; the English cliffs are
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
It is full tide and the moon is beautiful
common theme is the loss of religious faith
Overall: Arnold presents a elegiac poem, bemoaning the loss of religion in the world and how science, though rational, does not provide spiritual guidance nor anything beyond the physical.
Meaning: The lack of religion is creating an overall decline in human happiness.
Rhyme Scheme: ABACDB/DCEFCGFG/HIHJIJ/KELMENML/OPPOOAQQAA
Tone: melancholic, reflective