Dover Beach
by Matthew Arnold
   The sea is calm tonight,
   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,
5   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-blanched land,
   Listen! you hear the grating roar
10   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.
    
15   Sophocles long ago
   Heard it on the Agean, and it brought
   Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
   Of human misery; we
   Find also in the sound a thought,
20   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 furled.
   But now I only hear
25   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
30   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;
35   And we are here as on a darkling plain
   Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
   Where ignorant armies clash by night.

1867
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