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Dover Beach

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  1. Dover Beach Matthew Arnold

  2. The sea is calm to-night.The tide is full, the moon lies fairUpon the straits; on the French coast the lightGleams 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 sprayWhere the sea meets the moon-blanched land,Listen! you hear the grating roarOf 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 bringThe eternal note of sadness in. Sophocles long agoHeard it on the Aegaean, and it broughtInto his mind the turbid ebb and flowOf human misery; weFind also in the sound a thought,Hearing it by this distant northern sea. The Sea of FaithWas once, too, at the full, and round earth's shoreLay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.But now I only hearIts melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,Retreating, to the breathOf the night-wind, down the vast edges drearAnd naked shingles of the world. Ah, love, let us be trueTo one another! for the world, which seemsTo 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 plainSwept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,Where ignorant armies clash by night.

  3. Matthew Arnold • Lived 1822-1888 • Written c.1851 – honeymoon • Religious, social, educational issues • Industrial Revolution

  4. The sea is calm to-night.The tide is full, the moonlies fairUpon the straits; on the French coast the lightGleams 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! • Literal description • “calm” “tranquil” “lies” • “sweet” “gleams” - lures reader in • “cliffs…glimmering” • “come” - honeymoon • Repetitive: line 2 – gentle rhythm • “gleams and is gone”

  5. Only, from the long line of sprayWhere the sea meets the moon-blanched land,Listen! you hear the grating roarOf pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,At their return, up the high strand,Begin, and cease, and then again begin,Withtremulous cadence slow, and bringThe eternal note of sadness in. • Auditory imagery: “grating roar” “tremulous cadence” • “moon-blanched” • “meets” • “Begin, and cease, and then again begin” • “tremulous cadence slow… eternal note of sadness” • “grating roar / of pebbles” • “strand” • “Listen!”

  6. Sophocles long agoHeard it on the Aegaean, and it broughtInto his mind the turbid ebb and flowOf human misery; weFind also in the sound a thought,Hearing it by this distant northern sea. • “Sophocles” • “a thought” • “turbid” • “ebb and flow”

  7. The Sea of FaithWas once, too, at the full, and round earth's shoreLay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.But now I only hearIts melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,Retreating, to the breathOf the night-wind, down the vast edges drearAnd naked shingles of the world. • “Sea of Faith • “full” “round” “bright” • “girdle” • “melancholy, long, withdrawing” • “night-wind” • “naked shingles”

  8. Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;And we are here as on a darkling plainSwept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,Where ignorant armies clash by night. Ah, love, let us be trueTo one another! for the world, which seemsTo lie before us like a land of dreams,So various, so beautiful, so new,Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, • “Ah, love” • Rhyme scheme: ABBA CDDCC • Use of lists • Transition of moods • “be true to one another” • “ignorant armies clash” • “confused alarms”

  9. Literary Techniques • Anaphora • Caesura • Enjambment

  10. Themes • Religious faith • Human misery and helplessness • Appearance and reality

  11. Perspective • Uses all 3

  12. Exam Questions • Explores the ways in which Arnold vividly conveys his message • Discuss two key themes of the poem • Compare and contrast the imagery used in Dover Beach and Flower-Fed Buffaloes