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Dover Beach - Poem by Matthew Arnold

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.

Comments about Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold

  • Gold Star - 9,938 Points Castellenas 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.
  • Rookie 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.
  • Rookie 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.
  • Rookie 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

    Rookie 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.

    | Delete this reply
    4 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Rookie 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.
  • Rookie Bandana (7/14/2018 11:48:00 AM)

    Pretty tough to understand (Report) Reply

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

    Um😐😐😐😐😐😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😶😐😐😐😐😐😐😐😐😐😐😐 (Report) Reply

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

    Gud😀😀 (Report) Reply

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

    isko hindi me batao (Report) Reply

    4 person liked.
    9 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 4,736 Points Samuel 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.
Read all 64 comments »
Beach Poems
  1. 1. Dover Beach
    Matthew Arnold
  2. 2. On The Beach At Night
    Walt Whitman
  3. 3. Evening On Calais Beach
    William Wordsworth
  4. 4. Beach Burial
    Kenneth Slessor
  5. 5. With Kit, Age 7, At The Beach
    William Stafford
  6. 6. I Saw From The Beach
    Thomas Moore
  7. 7. Down To The Beach
    Lovina Sylvia Chidi
  8. 8. On The Beach At Night, Alone
    Walt Whitman
  9. 9. Beach
    ONElia AVElar
  10. 10. Beach Glass
    Amy Clampitt
  11. 11. Show It At The Beach
    Shel Silverstein
  12. 12. The Beach
    Robert Graves
  13. 13. The Beach
    Weldon Kees
  14. 14. On The Beach
    Michael Williams
  15. 15. **a Beach, Lake, And Owl
    David DeSantis
  16. 16. The Haunted Beach
    Mary Darby Robinson
  17. 17. Fragments From The Beach
    Bill Knott
  18. 18. For Johnny Pole On The Forgotten Beach
    Anne Sexton
  19. 19. Kallundborg Church ( From The Tent On Th..
    John Greenleaf Whittier
  20. 20. Hampton Beach
    John Greenleaf Whittier
  21. 21. Beach
    shiny shine
  22. 22. My Garden—like The Beach
    Emily Dickinson
  23. 23. Memories Of The Beach
    David Taylor
  24. 24. Alone On A Beach
    hazem al jaber
  25. 25. (017) Kites Flying At The Beach
    Risha Ahmed (12 yrs)
  26. 26. Beach (A Tanka)
    asma bahrainwala
  27. 27. An Afternoon At The Beach
    Edgar Bowers
  28. 28. I Am The Beach...
    (brief renderings) Joe Fazio
  29. 29. On The Beach At Fontana
    James Joyce
  30. 30. Me, My Dog, And The Beach
    Karen Curcio
  31. 31. Beach Chairs
    joyce ebrecht
  32. 32. She Enjoys Long Walks On The Beach And....
    Ted Sheridan
  33. 33. Dover Beach, Revisited
    Will Barber
  34. 34. Beach Of Dreams
    David Harris
  35. 35. A Day At The Pink Beach
  36. 36. *** On The Beach
    rinki nandy
  37. 37. A Time At The Beach
    Donna Nimmo
  38. 38. At The Beach
    Khalid Icanttellyou
  39. 39. * ..
    Rommel Mark Dominguez Marchan
  40. 40. The Changeling ( From The Tent On The Be..
    John Greenleaf Whittier
  41. 41. Beach Cleanup
    Chuck Audette
  42. 42. The Beach
    Mr. Bean
  43. 43. A Sandy Beach In April
    David Harris
  44. 44. Beauty And The Beach
    Faith Elizabeth Brigham
  45. 45. Dover Beach Revisited
    Hannah Smith
  46. 46. A Plover On The Beach
    Michael Pruchnicki
  47. 47. My Sunset On The Beach
    The Devil From Hell
  48. 48. On A Far Away Beach At Dawn
    Eddie Roa
  49. 49. Eco-Friendly Beach Erotics
    David DeSantis
  50. 50. Negril Beach
    Raluca Rodica Ratiu

New Beach Poems

  1. Cox's Bazar Sea Beach And Its Surroundin.., Muzahidul Reza
  2. The Smart Sexy Saucy Me X, Gayathri B. Seetharam
  3. A Catch-22 Nonconformist Haiku, Jonathan Lee
  4. American Beach, Jim Yerman
  5. On A Lonely Beach, Akhtar Jawad
  6. The Beach Of Nilawelli, inguruwattadewage pushpadewa
  7. Haikus - Nude Beach, Ravi Kopra
  8. A Fun In Holiday Beach!, Ramesh T A
  9. Beach Festival Of Gopalpur, Kumarmani Mahakul
  10. It's Been A Long Time, yada yada yada

Beach Poems

  1. On The Beach At Night

    ON the beach, at night, Stands a child, with her father, Watching the east, the autumn sky. Up through the darkness, While ravening clouds, the burial clouds, in black masses spreading, Lower, sullen and fast, athwart and down the sky, Amid a transparent clear belt of ether yet left in the east, Ascends, large and calm, the lord-star Jupiter; And nigh at hand, only a very little above, Swim the delicate brothers, the Pleiades. 10 From the beach, the child, holding the hand of her father, Those burial-clouds that lower, victorious, soon to devour all, Watching, silently weeps. Weep not, child, Weep not, my darling, With these kisses let me remove your tears; The ravening clouds shall not long be victorious, They shall not long possess the sky- shall devour the stars only in apparition: Jupiter shall emerge- be patient- watch again another night- the Pleiades shall emerge, They are immortal- all those stars, both silvery and golden, shall shine out again, 20 The great stars and the little ones shall shine out again- they endure; The vast immortal suns, and the long-enduring pensive moons, shall again shine. Then, dearest child, mournest thou only for Jupiter? Considerest thou alone the burial of the stars? Something there is, (With my lips soothing thee, adding, I whisper, I give thee the first suggestion, the problem and indirection,) Something there is more immortal even than the stars, (Many the burials, many the days and nights, passing away,) Something that shall endure longer even than lustrous Jupiter, 30 Longer than sun, or any revolving satellite, Or the radiant brothers, the Pleiades.

  2. Evening On Calais Beach

    IT is a beauteous evening, calm and free,    The holy time is quiet as a Nun    Breathless with adoration; the broad sun Is sinking down in its tranquillity; The gentleness of heaven broods o'er the sea:    Listen! the mighty Being is awake,    And doth with his eternal motion make A sound like thunder--everlastingly. Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,    If thou appear untouch'd by solemn thought,    Thy nature is not therefore less divine: Thou liest in Abraham's bosom all the year;    And worshipp'st at the Temple's inner shrine,    God being with thee when we know it not.

  3. With Kit, Age 7, At The Beach

    We would climb the highest dune, from there to gaze and come down: the ocean was performing; we contributed our climb. Waves leapfrogged and came straight out of the storm. What should our gaze mean? Kit waited for me to decide. Standing on such a hill, what would you tell your child? That was an absolute vista. Those waves raced far, and cold. 'How far could you swim, Daddy, in such a storm?' 'As far as was needed,' I said, and as I talked, I swam.

  4. Beach Burial

    Softly and humbly to the Gulf of Arabs The convoys of dead sailors come; At night they sway and wander in the waters far under, But morning rolls them in the foam. Between the sob and clubbing of the gunfire Someone, it seems, has time for this, To pluck them from the shallows and bury them in burrows And tread the sand upon their nakedness; And each cross, the driven stake of tidewood, Bears the last signature of men, Written with such perplexity, with such bewildered pity, The words choke as they begin - 'Unknown seaman' - the ghostly pencil Wavers and fades, the purple drips, The breath of wet season has washed their inscriptions As blue as drowned men's lips, Dead seamen, gone in search of the same landfall, Whether as enemies they fought, Or fought with us, or neither; the sand joins them together, Enlisted on the other front. _____________________________________________ German Translation Strandbegräbnis Ergeben und sanft zum Golf der Araber Kommen die Konvois der toten Matrosen; Nachts irren sie schwankend im Wasser tief unten, Doch der Morgen läßt sie im Schaum rollen. Zwischen dem Schluchzen und Knüppeln von Geschützen Hat jemand, so scheint es, die Zeit gefunden, Sie an seichten Stellen aufzusammeln und in Reihen zu begraben Und den Sand über ihrer Nacktheit festzutreten; Und jedes Kreuz, ein getriebener Pfahl aus Treibholz, Trägt die letzte Unterschrift eines Mannes, Geschrieben mit solcher Bestürzung, mit solch verwirrtem Mitleid, Die Worte ersticken, sobald sie beginnen - “Unbekannter Seemann“ - der gespenstische Stift Zittert und verblaßt, das Purpur tropft, Der Atem der nassen Jahreszeit hat jede Inschrift Blau wie die Lippen der Ertrunkenen gefärbt, Tote Seemänner, fort, denselben Landfall zu suchen, Wo sie sich als Feinde bekämpft, Oder mit uns kämpften, oder keines davon, im Sand jetzt zusammen, Angeworben an der anderen Front.

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