Dover Beach is a poem by the English poet Matthew Arnold, first published in 1867. It is a meditation on the loss of religious faith and the resulting feeling of isolation and despair. The poem is written in iambic pentameter and is structured in four stanzas, each containing eight lines.
The poem begins with a description of the setting: Dover Beach, a seaside resort on the southeast coast of England. The speaker observes the sea and the moon, and compares the movement of the waves to the ebb and flow of human life. The moonlight reflects on the water, creating a shimmering, peaceful scene.
However, as the speaker continues to contemplate the sea, the mood of the poem begins to shift. The speaker notes that the sea is not just a peaceful and beautiful natural force, but also a powerful and destructive one. The waves are described as "grating roar," and the speaker compares them to a "sea of faith," which is now receding.
This reference to the "sea of faith" is central to the poem's theme. The speaker laments the loss of religious faith and the resulting sense of isolation and despair. The speaker describes the world as "a darkling plain," and refers to the "ignorant armies" that clash by night, a metaphor for the divisions and conflicts that plague human society.
The final stanza of the poem brings the theme of loss and despair to its climax. The speaker compares the world to a "turbid ebb and flow" of human emotion, and describes the "melancholy, long, withdrawing roar" of the sea as a symbol of the fading of human hope and connection to something greater than ourselves. The speaker ends the poem with a plea for comfort and companionship, calling out to his lover to "be true to one another."
In Dover Beach, Matthew Arnold explores the theme of the loss of religious faith and its impact on the human experience. Through vivid imagery and a shifting mood, Arnold captures the sense of isolation and despair that can result from this loss. Despite the bleakness of the poem's themes, it ultimately ends on a note of hope, as the speaker calls out to his lover for comfort and companionship.
Dover Beach Summary
In this sense, the poet draws out attention to the universality and eternity of sadness. The speaker stands on the cliffs of Dover Beach, gazing out at the majesty of nature. Distant means far from Sophocles. What the study could not teach -- what the preaching could not accomplish, is accomplish'd, is it not? In yon brilliant window-niche How statue-like I see thee stand, The agate lamp within thy hand! The beach lies between England and France. On the ferry-boats, the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home, are more curious to me than you suppose; And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence, are more to me, and more in my meditations, than you might suppose.
Dover Beach Summary And Analysis By Matthew Arnold • English Summary
Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, Listen! On desperate seas long wont to roam, Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face, Thy Naiad airs have brought me home To the glory that was Greece, And the grandeur that was Rome. Who knows but I am as good as looking at you now, for all you cannot see me? Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes! 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. According to the poet, the Sea of Faith once had united the whole of mankind but now it has declined. Who knows but I am enjoying this? They hear the sound of struggle and fights of the people who are fighting without seeing each other. Stanza 4 Stanza 4 is characterized by a feeling of escapism. 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.
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. What remains there are the naked stones which have been pulled out of the earth by the tides. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. In the next line, the mood suddenly changes. This movement of the pebbles with terrible sound is of course not pleasant and brings out the note or music that is sad and never-ending. Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanch'd land, Listen! Like most poetry, a multitude of meanings can be pulled from the lines of In the poem, the narrator looks out from a window of a house on the cliffs of Dover, toward the European continent.
What is the meaning of the poem "Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold?
Note that these lines relate to the Sea of Faith He wants to bring that faith back. Sophocles long ago Heard it on the Aegean, 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 poet asks his beloved to be true to him. In essence, the poem is an inquiry into what it means to be alive. Let me count the ways.
I too saw the reflection of the summer sky in the water, Had my eyes dazzled by the shimmering track of beams, Look'd at the fine centrifugal spokes of light around the shape of my head in the sun-lit water, Look'd on the haze on the hills southward and southwestward, Look'd on the vapor as it flew in fleeces tinged with violet, Look'd toward the lower bay to notice the arriving ships, Saw their approach, saw aboard those that were near me, Saw the white sails of schooners and sloops -- saw the ships at anchor, The sailors at work in the rigging, or out astride the spars, The round masts, the swinging motion of the hulls, the slender serpentine pennants, The large and small steamers in motion, the pilots in their pilot-houses, The white wake left by the passage, the quick tremulous whirl of the wheels, The flags of all nations, the falling of them at sun-set, The scallop-edged waves in the twilight, the ladled cups, the frolicsome crests and glistening, The stretch afar growing dimmer and dimmer, the gray walls of the granite store-houses by the docks, On the river the shadowy group, the big steam-tug closely flank'd on each side by the barges -- the hay-boat, the belated lighter, On the neighboring shore, the fires from the foundry chimneys burning high and glaringly into the night, Casting their flicker of black, contrasted with wild red and yellow light, over the tops of houses, and down into the clefts of streets. When the light vanishes, the poet sees the White Cliffs which are shining in the moonlight on the Shore of England. Finally, Matthew Arnold allows for the return of hope in the final stanza, via an impassioned plea for a new light, a new truth, a new faith. In this way the narrator is referencing the idea that there are no new ideas coming from Europe; the light has "gone out," leaving The eternal note of sadness in. The citation above will include either 2 or 3 dates.
"Dover Beach": Understanding Meaning Through Symbols and Ideas
Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns The earliest pipe of half-awaken'd birds To dying ears, when unto dying eyes The casement slowly grows a glimmering square So sad, so strange, the days that are no more. The Faithcan refer to trust humanity religion, kindness, sympathy spiritualism and so on. This brings science and faith into conflict. Tinker and Lowry point out that "there is evidence that the passage about the 'night-battle' was familiar coin among Rugbeians" at the time Arnold attended Rugby and studied there under his father Dr. Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold is a Dover is a city in England that is famous for White Cliffs. I loved well those cities; I loved well the stately and rapid river; The men and women I saw were all near to me; Others the same -- others who look back on me, because I look'd forward to them; The time will come, though I stop here to-day and to-night. You have waited, you always wait, you dumb, beautiful ministers! The poet believes that the world which was like the Land of Dreamsor how he described it, in the beginning, is, in reality, hollow from inside.
Modern men, in his eyes, are always trying to prove everything and cannot take fact for fact; they have no faith Schow 26-27. The poem expresses the Victorian uncertainty that came from changing attitudes towards science and God though this is not explicitly mentioned. No longer is the Earth clothed in the fullness of the sea; now it is bare and exposed to the wind. Rein ist die Abendluft! I love thee to the level of every day's Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight. There is no joy, love, light, certainty, peace, sympathy in it. Only, from the long line of spray Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, Listen! Sophocles long ago Heard it on the Ægean, 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.
Dover Beach is situated where one can see the English Channel and the North Sea meet: the Strait of Dover. The middle two stanzas develop this lament, first referencing the same feelings felt by Sophocles, and then moving to a focus on the connection between the loss of light and the loss of Faith. The land is solid and coherent, a representation of the harsh realistic minds of modern men. He depicts alarming imagery, such as armies clashing as well as the presence of ignorance and confusion. But they add that "the Greek author has reference only to the successive blows of Fate which fall upon a particular family which has been devoted to destruction by the gods. As we know the poem was written during the Victorian age.