poet Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold

#128 on top 500 poets

Dover Beach

The sea is calm to-night.
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; - on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the {AE}gean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.

Topic(s) of this poem: beach

Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 6, 2001
Poem Edited: Thursday, December 25, 2014

Add this poem to MyPoemList

Rating Card

Dover Beach # 89 poem on top 500 Poems
3,5 out of 5
261 total ratings
rate this poem

Comments about Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold

  • L Milton Hankins (9/19/2020 8:16:00 PM)

    One of the greatest poems written in the English language. Magnificent imagery, rhyme and rhythm.

    Report Reply
    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Sig 91820 (9/18/2020 8:18:00 PM)

    Brilliant, on many levels, and very affecting. “Where ignorant armies clash by night”: USA in 2020

    Report Reply
    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Castellenas JohnCastellenas John (4/12/2019 10:54:00 AM)

    Wonderful poetry for the beach. Thank you Matthew.

    Report Reply
    1 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Penelope I (12/15/2018 8:01:00 PM)

    A deeply haunting and incredibly strange poem. A love poem that denies love. It's unstable like the beach.

    Report Reply
    3 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • James D. Cain (10/28/2018 3:54:00 PM)

    I have loved this poem since childhood, about 75 years. It and I resonate....I am now 85. Egad! 28/10/2018

    Report Reply
    4 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Carol M. (9/14/2018 7:45:00 PM)

    My thoughts were rejected by this web page because they were too many characters. Apparently, anything longer than a couple of fortune cookie fortunes is just too many words for this site. You need to include a character counter.

    Report Reply
    Carol M.(9/14/2018 8:00:00 PM)

    Hmmm. Some people have written longer comments. I do not feel like rewriting mine all over again. Suffice to say that religious faith never covered the world. People just thought it did. The real world is like the tide, which can be counted on to keep flowing in and then ebbing, over and over. Underneath are shifting sands and tumbling stones. Painful, unsteady. Nothing is assured. Cling to relationships for as long as you have them. Struggle on in darkness.

    4 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Chief Mama Susu (8/6/2018 4:46:00 PM)

    I think the poem expresses beautifully Arnold’s concern about the decline of religious faith in his time and his fear for humanity as a result. He’s suggesting that without faith “we are here as on a darkling plain, swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, where ignorant armies clash by night.”

    Report Reply
    5 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Bandana (7/14/2018 11:48:00 AM)

    Pretty tough to understand

    Report Reply
    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Farooq Dhahir (7/1/2018 6:22:00 PM)

    Um😐😐😐😐😐😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😐😐😐😐😐😐😐😐😐😐😐

    Report Reply
    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Kavya (6/22/2018 4:37:00 AM)

    Gud😀😀

    Report Reply
    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Rinku (12/3/2017 9:32:00 AM)

    isko hindi me batao

    Report Reply
    4 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Samuel Segun ToluwalaseSamuel Segun Toluwalase (2/17/2017 9:23:00 AM)

    I love this write up and i am tempted to say that heart of Matthew wrote him. Fantastic poem

    Report Reply
    13 person liked.
    13 person did not like.
  • Tom Allport (1/4/2017 5:19:00 PM)

    having true love? nothing else matters.

    Report Reply
    Simon Lovemakor(1/24/2018 6:47:00 AM)

    lovely comment

    13 person liked.
    14 person did not like.
  • Olivia Ongai (12/27/2016 12:07:00 PM)

    I had to upload a revised recording because the first version was cut short, but here is my reading of Dover Beach:

    https: //youtu.be/ODK5S9Rfim4

    Report Reply
    11 person liked.
    8 person did not like.
  • Muzahidul RezaMuzahidul Reza (11/2/2016 2:01:00 PM)

    One of the wonderful, meaningful, excellent weitten piece of literature, readin any one must be charmed instantly

    Report Reply
    7 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Jeanie  Leyba Jeanie Leyba (7/4/2016 4:25:00 AM)

    That was really good and beautiful well written

    Report Reply
    3 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • John MaxwellJohn Maxwell (5/23/2016 2:25:00 PM)

    Dover Beach is a downright insight into the Bards of old, an you my friend are just one
    of them. Great write and I like your sentence structure.
    John Maxwell

    Report Reply
    2 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Reshma Elza UlahannanReshma Elza Ulahannan (3/27/2016 2:54:00 AM)

    The Sea of Faith
    Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
    Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl'd.
    But now I only hear
    Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
    my favourite lines
    very good poem on beautiful the topic
    Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
    Retreating, to the breath

    Report Reply
    5 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Moira CameronMoira Cameron (3/20/2016 12:07:00 AM)

    The last verse is quite striking - captures the feeling of us vs the world.

    Report Reply
    5 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • Edward Kofi LouisEdward Kofi Louis (3/19/2016 12:21:00 PM)

    The turbid ebb and flow! With the muse of nature. Thanks for sharing.

    Report Reply
    4 person liked.
    9 person did not like.



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

Read poems about / on: sea, moon, faith, beach, night, beautiful, peace, light, joy, world, wind, pain, dream