Matthew Arnold

(1822-1888 / Middlesex / England)

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.

Topic(s) of this poem: beach


Comments about Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold

  • Reshma 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

    2 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Moira Cameron Moira Cameron (3/20/2016 12:07:00 AM)

    The last verse is quite striking - captures the feeling of us vs the world. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis Edward Kofi Louis (3/19/2016 12:21:00 PM)

    The turbid ebb and flow! With the muse of nature. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A Ramesh T A (3/19/2016 7:54:00 AM)

    Sea is calm, ebb and flow of waves denoting the struggle and flight of human army at night in confusion says the poem about human difficulty going on with dreams of a better tomorrow that the scene of Dover beach shows now! (Report) Reply

  • Ratnakar Mandlik (3/19/2016 3:50:00 AM)

    Amazing flow of the poem has enhances it's captivating capacity. Narration of the beach and it's surroundings is superb as also the style of unfolding of the story in the poem. Thanks for sharing here. (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal Mohammed Asim Nehal (3/19/2016 1:41:00 AM)

    Nice description of the beach, Liked it thanks for sharing,10 (Report) Reply

  • Leloudia Migdali (3/7/2016 8:02:00 AM)

    A poem full of truths unchanged through the passing of time. Life is ebbs and tides. Awesome poem. (Report) Reply

  • Ahmed Gumaa Siddiek Ahmed Gumaa Siddiek (2/15/2016 10:32:00 AM)

    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,

    If we want to see the beauty of the world, we can surely do but sparing some moments of contemplation and share others' feelings and life. (Report) Reply

  • Jennifer Rondeau Jennifer Rondeau (2/6/2016 12:13:00 AM)

    Beautiful
    I love it alot: D (Report) Reply

  • john webb (12/13/2015 2:54:00 AM)

    A ravishing mise-en-scene coupled with a profound meditation on the fragility of human life. IMHO the greatest English poem of the 19TH century. Er, come to think of it... (Report) Reply

  • Laura Callahan (10/8/2015 7:16:00 PM)

    Very beautiful and it shows how you feel and see things through your own perspective (Report) Reply

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal Mohammed Asim Nehal (8/21/2015 10:59:00 AM)

    Nicely written poem..... (Report) Reply

  • Fer Basbas (6/29/2015 11:59:00 AM)

    ignorant armies clash by night (Report) Reply

  • Lokendra Singh Lokendra Singh (6/22/2015 3:09:00 AM)

    I likes Mathew Arnold's poems since my childhood..... I have grown up by reading his poems... I really loves them and enjoy them..... (Report) Reply

  • Godfrey Morris Godfrey Morris (6/2/2015 10:03:00 PM)

    Great flow. Great poen (Report) Reply

  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (1/24/2015 12:55:00 AM)

    Apart from the great poetic mind the poem is one of the greatest and marvelous ideas and it is very nice to read and rhyme is also fascinating. (Report) Reply

  • Sandra Feldman (9/7/2014 4:26:00 AM)

    One of the greatest Poems of the English language.
    Then and for all times to come. (Report) Reply

  • Sandra Feldman (9/7/2014 4:22:00 AM)

    One of the greatest Poems of the English language.
    Then and for all times to come. (Report) Reply

  • * Sunprincess * (6/18/2014 11:47:00 AM)

    ..............a wonderful poem.....sure there must be a great story behind this poem.... (Report) Reply

  • Francis Lynch Francis Lynch (4/26/2014 10:51:00 PM)

    Sounds a bit isolationist. Word has it Arnold was on his wedding night when he wrote this. I'd try to forget the cares of the world too. (Report) Reply

Read all 45 comments »




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



Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 6, 2001

Poem Edited: Thursday, December 25, 2014


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