Dover Beach. By Matthew Arnold. Matthew Arnold 1822-1888.
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By Matthew Arnold
Matthew Arnold was born in Laleham, a town in the Thames valley. He spent much of his childhood in nature, when he wasn’t in the school run by his father, Dr. Thomas Arnold. He attended Oxford University, and after graduating, became the private secretary to Lord Lansdowne. In 1851, he became the inspector of schools, a job which led him to travel extensively.
As he traveled through England, he came to see the dullness of middle class life, and the difficulty of living a full and enjoyable life in modern industrial society.
Arnold’s career as a writer is basically in 4 periods: 1850s were mostly poetry, 1860s were literary and social criticism, 1870s were essays on education and religion, and he returned to literary criticism in the 1880s, until his death.
"Arnold, Matthew." Online Photograph. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 15 Apr. 2009 <http://search.eb.com/eb/art-8564>
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 A gaean, 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.
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