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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

  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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

Read all 62 comments »

Poems About Beach

  1. 1. Dover Beach , Matthew Arnold
  2. 2. Evening On Calais Beach , William Wordsworth
  3. 3. On The Beach At Night , Walt Whitman
  4. 4. Down To The Beach , Sylvia Chidi
  5. 5. Beach Burial , Kenneth Slessor
  6. 6. I Saw From The Beach , Thomas Moore
  7. 7. On The Beach At Night, Alone , Walt Whitman
  8. 8. The Beach , Robert Graves
  9. 9. Beach , ONElia AVElar
  10. 10. Beach Glass , Amy Clampitt
  11. 11. Show It At The Beach , Shel Silverstein
  12. 12. With Kit, Age 7, At The Beach , William Stafford
  13. 13. Fragments From The Beach , Bill Knott
  14. 14. The Beach , Weldon Kees
  15. 15. On The Beach , Michael Williams
  16. 16. **a Beach, Lake, And Owl , David DeSantis
  17. 17. The Haunted Beach , Mary Darby Robinson
  18. 18. For Johnny Pole On The Forgotten Beach , Anne Sexton
  19. 19. Angie's Beach (For Ask) , Scarlett Treat
  20. 20. Kallundborg Church ( From The Tent On Th.. , John Greenleaf Whittier
  21. 21. I Am The Beach... , (brief renderings) Joe Fazio
  22. 22. Hampton Beach , John Greenleaf Whittier
  23. 23. Beach , shiny shine
  24. 24. My Garden—like The Beach , Emily Dickinson
  25. 25. Memories Of The Beach , David Taylor
  26. 26. Alone On A Beach , hazem al jaber
  27. 27. (017) Kites Flying At The Beach , Risha Ahmed (12 yrs)
  28. 28. Beach (A Tanka) , asma bahrainwala
  29. 29. An Afternoon At The Beach , Edgar Bowers
  30. 30. On The Beach At Fontana , James Joyce
  31. 31. Me, My Dog, And The Beach , Karen Curcio
  32. 32. Beach Chairs , joyce ebrecht
  33. 33. She Enjoys Long Walks On The Beach And.... , Ted Sheridan
  34. 34. Dover Beach, Revisited , Will Barber
  35. 35. Beach Cleanup , Chuck Audette
  36. 36. Beach Of Dreams , David Harris
  37. 37. A Time At The Beach , Donna Nimmo
  38. 38. A Day At The Pink Beach , MARINA GIPPS
  39. 39. *** On The Beach , rinki nandy
  40. 40. Beauty And The Beach , Faith Elizabeth Brigham
  41. 41. Private Beach , Jane Kenyon
  42. 42. At The Beach , Khalid Icanttellyou
  43. 43. * .. , Rommel Mark Dominguez Marchan
  44. 44. The Changeling ( From The Tent On The Be.. , John Greenleaf Whittier
  45. 45. The Beach , Mr. Bean
  46. 46. A Sandy Beach In April , David Harris
  47. 47. At The Beach, Summer Dusk (2 Haiku) , Ben Gieske
  48. 48. Nude Beach Rookie , Chuck Audette
  49. 49. Dover Beach Revisited , Hannah Smith
  50. 50. A Plover On The Beach , Michael Pruchnicki
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