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Dover Beach

By Arnold, Matthew

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Book Id: WPLBN0000702453
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 152,164 KB.
Reproduction Date: 2007

Title: Dover Beach  
Author: Arnold, Matthew
Language: English
Subject: Fiction, Poetry, Verse drama
Collections: Poetry Collection
Publication Date:
Publisher: World Public Library Association


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Arnold, M. (n.d.). Dover Beach. Retrieved from


Excerpt: 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 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 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. // Matthew Arnold // Lines Written in Kensington Gardens // IN this lone, open glade I lie, // Screen'd by deep boughs on either hand; // And at its end, to stay the eye, // Those black-crown'd, red-boled pine-trees stand! // Birds here make song, each bird has his, // Across the girdling city's hum. // How green under the boughs it is! // How thick the tremulous sheep-cries come! // Sometimes a child will cross the glade // To take his nurse his broken toy; // Sometimes a thrush flit overhead // Deep in her unknown day's employ. // Here at my feet what wonders pass, // What endless, active life is here! // What blowing daisies, fragrant grass! // An air-stirr'd forest, fresh and clear. // Scarce fresher is the mountain-sod // Where the tired angler lies, stretch'd out, // And, eased of basket and of rod, // Counts his day's spoil, the spotted trout. // In the huge world, which roars hard by, // Be others happy if they can! // But in my helpless cradle I // Was breathed on by the rural Pan. // I, on men's impious uproar hurl'd, // Think often, as I hear them rave, // That peace has left the upper world // And now keeps only in the grave. // Yet here is peace for ever new! // When I who watch them am away, // Still all things in this glade go through // The changes of their quiet day. // Then to their happy rest they pass! // The flowers upclose, the birds are fed, // The night comes down upon the grass, // The child sleeps warmly in his bed. // Calm soul of all things! make it mine // To feel, amid the city's jar, // That there abides a peace of thine, // Man did not make, and cannot mar. // The will to neither strive nor cry, // The power to feel with others give! // Calm, calm me more! nor let me die // Before I have begun to live. // Matthew Arnold // Consolation // 2 // MIST clogs the sunshine. // Smoky dwarf houses // Hem me round everywhere; // A vague dejection // Weighs down my soul. // Yet, while I languish, // Everywhere countless // Prospects unroll themselves, // And countless beings // Pass countless moods. // Far hence, in Asia, // On the smooth convent-roofs, // On the gilt terraces, // Of holy Lassa, // Bright shines the sun. // Grey time-worn marbles // Hold the pure Muses; // In their cool gallery, // By yellow Tiber, // They still look fair. // Strange unloved uproar // Shrills round their portal; // Yet not on Helicon // Kept they more cloudless // Their noble calm. // Through sun-proof alleys // In a lone, sand-hemm'd // City of Africa, // A blind, led beggar, // Age-bow'd, asks alms. // No bolder robber // Erst abode ambush'd // Deep in the sandy waste; // No clearer eyesight // Spied prey afar. // Saharan sand-winds // Sear'd his keen eyeballs; // Spent is the spoil he won. // For him the present // Holds only pain. // Two young, fair lovers, // Where the warm June-wind, // Fresh from the summer fields // Plays fondly round them, // Stand, tranced in joy. // With sweet, join'd voices, // And with eyes brimming: // Ah, they cry, Destiny, // Prolong the present! // Time, stand still here! // 3 // The prompt stern Goddess // Shakes her head, frowning; // Time gives his hour-glass // Its due reversal; // Their hour is gone. // With weak indulgence // Did the just Goddess // Lengthen their happiness, // She lengthen'd also // Distress elsewhere. // The hour, whose happy // Unalloy'd moments // I would eternalise, // Ten thousand mourners // Well pleased see end. // The bleak, stern hour, // Whose severe moments // I would annihilate, // Is pass'd by others // In warmth, light, joy. // Time, so complain'd of, // Who to no one man // Shows partiality, // Brings round to all men // Some undimm'd hours. // Matthew Arnold // The Future // A WANDERER is man from his birth. // He was born in a ship // On the breast of the river of Time; // Brimming with wonder and joy // He spreads out his arms to the light, // Rivets his gaze on the banks of the stream. // As what he sees is, so have his thoughts been. // Whether he wakes, // Where the snowy mountainous pass, // Echoing the screams of the eagles, // Hems in its gorges the bed // Of the new-born clear-flowing stream; // Whether he first sees light // Where the river in gleaming rings // Sluggishly winds through the plain; // Whether in sound of the swallowing sea - // As is the world on the banks, // So is the mind of the man. // Vainly does each, as he glides, // Fable and dream // Of the lands which the river of Time // Had left ere he woke on its breast, // 4 // Or shall reach when his eyes have been closed. // Only the tract where he sails // He wots of; only the thoughts, // Raised by the objects he passes, are his. // Who can see the green earth any more // As she was by the sources of Time? // Who imagines her fields as they lay // In the sunshine, unworn by the plough? // Who thinks as they thought, // The tribes who then roam'd on her breast, // Her vigorous, primitive sons? // What girl // Now reads in her bosom as clear // As Rebekah read, when she sate // At eve by the palm-shaded well? // Who guards in her breast // As deep, as pellucid a spring // Of feeling, as tranquil, as sure? // What bard, // At the height of his vision, can deem // Of God, of the world, of the soul, // With a plainness as near, // As flashing as Moses felt // When he lay in the night by his flock // On the starlit Arabian waste? // Can rise and obey // The beck of the Spirit like him? // This tract which the river of Time // Now flows through with us, is the plain. // Gone is the calm of its earlier shore. // Border'd by cities and hoarse // With a thousand cries is its stream. // And we on its breast, our minds // Are confused as the cries which we hear, // Changing and shot as the sights which we see. // And we say that repose has fled // For ever the course of the river of Time. // That cities will crowd to its edge // In a blacker, incessanter line; // That the din will be more on its banks, // Denser the trade on its stream, // Flatter the plain where it flows, // Fiercer the sun overhead. // That never will those on its breast // See an ennobling sight, // Drink of the feeling of quiet again. // But what was before us we know not, // And we know not what shall succeed. // Haply, the river of Time - // As it grows, as the towns on its marge // 5 // Fling their wavering lights // On a wider, statelier stream - // May acquire, if not the calm // Of its early mountainous shore, // Yet a solemn peace of its own. // And the width of the waters, the hush // Of the grey expanse where he floats, // Freshening its current and spotted with foam // As it draws to the Ocean, may strike // Peace to the soul of the man on its breast - // As the pale waste widens around him, // As the banks fade dimmer away, // As the stars come out, and the night-wind // Brings up the stream // Murmurs and scents of the infinite sea. // Matthew Arnold // The Scholar-Gipsy // GO, for they call you, shepherd, from the hill; // Go, shepherd, and untie the wattled cotes! // No longer leave thy wistful flock unfed, // Nor let thy bawling fellows rack their throats, // Nor the cropp'd herbage shoot another head. // But when the fields are still, // And the tired men and dogs all gone to rest, // And only the white sheep are sometimes seen // Cross and recross the strips of moon-blanch'd green. // Come, shepherd, and again begin the quest! // Here, where the reaper was at work of late- // In this high field's dark corner, where he leaves // His coat, his basket, and his earthen cruse, // And in the sun all morning binds the sheaves, // Then here, at noon, comes back his stores to use- // Here will I sit and wait, // While to my ear from uplands far away // The bleating of the folded flocks is borne, // With distant cries of reapers in the corn- // All the live murmur of a summer's day. // Screen'd is this nook o'er the high, half-reap'd field, // And here till sun-down, shepherd! will I be. // Through the thick corn the scarlet poppies peep, // And round green roots and yellowing stalks I see // Pale pink convolvulus in tendrils creep; // And air-swept lindens yield // Their scent, and rustle down their perfumed showers // Of bloom on the bent grass where I am laid, // And bower me from the August sun with shade; // And the eye travels down to Oxford's towers. // And near me on the grass lies Glanvil's book- // Come, let me read the oft-read tale again! // 6 // The story of the Oxford scholar poor, // Of pregnant parts and quick inventive brain, // Who, tired of knocking at preferment's door, // One summer-morn forsook // His friends, and went to learn the gipsy-lore, // And roam'd the world with that wild brotherhood, // And came, as most men deem'd, to little good, // But came to Oxford and his friends no more. // But once, years after, in the country-lanes, // Two scholars, whom at college erst he knew, // Met him, and of his way of life enquired; // Whereat he answer'd, that the gipsy-crew, // His mates, had arts to rule as they desired // The workings of men's brains, // And they can bind them to what thoughts they will. // And I, he said, the secret of their art, // When fully learn'd, will to the world impart; // But it needs heaven-sent moments for this skill. // This said, he left them, and return'd no more.- // But rumours hung about the country-side, // That the lost Scholar long was seen to stray, // Seen by rare glimpses, pensive and tongue-tied, // In hat of antique shape, and cloak of grey, // The same the gipsies wore. // Shepherds had met him on the Hurst in spring; // At some lone alehouse in the Berkshire moors, // On the warm ingle-bench, the smock-frock'd boors // Had found him seated at their entering, // But, 'mid their drink and clatter, he would fly. // And I myself seem half to know thy looks, // And put the shepherds, wanderer! on thy trace; // And boys who in lone wheatfields scare the rooks // I ask if thou hast pass'd their quiet place; // Or in my boat I lie // Moor'd to the cool bank in the summer-heats, // 'Mid wide grass meadows which the sunshine fills, // And watch the warm, green-muffled Cumner hills, // And wonder if thou haunt'st their shy retreats. // For most, I know, thou lov'st retired ground! // Thee at the ferry Oxford riders blithe, // Returning home on summer-nights, have met // Crossing the stripling Thames at Bab-lock-hithe, // Trailing in the cool stream thy fingers wet, // As the punt's rope chops round; // And leaning backward in a pensive dream, // And fostering in thy lap a heap of flowers // Pluck'd in shy fields and distant Wychwood bowers, // And thine eyes resting on the moonlit stream. // And then they land, and thou art seen no more!- // Maidens, who from the distant hamlets come // 7 // To dance around the Fyfield elm in May, // Oft through the darkening fields have seen thee roam, // Or cross a stile into the public way. // Oft thou hast given them store // Of flowers-the frail-leaf'd, white anemony, // Dark bluebells drench'd with dews of summer eves, // And purple orchises with spotted leaves- // But none hath words she can report of thee. // And, above Godstow Bridge, when hay-time's here // In June, and many a scythe in sunshine flames, // Men who through those wide fields of breezy grass // Where black-wing'd swallows haunt the glittering Thames, // To bathe in the abandon'd lasher pass, // Have often pass'd thee near // Sitting upon the river bank o'ergrown; // Mark'd thine outlandish garb, thy figure spare, // Thy dark vague eyes, and soft abstracted air- // But, when they came from bathing, thou wast gone! // At some lone homestead in the Cumner hills, // Where at her open door the housewife darns, // Thou hast been seen, or hanging on a gate // To watch the threshers in the mossy barns. // Children, who early range these slopes and late // For cresses from the rills, // Have known thee eyeing, all an April-day, // The springing pasture and the feeding kine; // And mark'd thee, when the stars come out and shine, // Through the long dewy grass move slow away. // In autumn, on the skirts of Bagley Wood- // Where most the gipsies by the turf-edged way // Pitch their smoked tents, and every bush you see // With scarlet patches tagg'd and shreds of grey, // Above the forest-ground called Thessaly- // The blackbird, picking food, // Sees thee, nor stops his meal, nor fears at all; // So often has he known thee past him stray, // Rapt, twirling in thy hand a wither'd spray, // And waiting for the spark from heaven to fall. // And once, in winter, on the causeway chill // Where home through flooded fields foot-travellers go, // Have I not pass'd thee on the wooden bridge, // Wrapt in thy cloak and battling with the snow, // Thy face tow'rd Hinksey and its wintry ridge? // And thou has climb'd the hill, // And gain'd the white brow of the Cumner range; // Turn'd once to watch, while thick the snowflakes fall, // The line of festal light in Christ-Church hall- // Then sought thy straw in some sequester'd grange. // But what-I dream! Two hundred years are flown // Since first thy story ran through Oxford halls, // 8 // And the grave Glanvil did the tale inscribe // That thou wert wander'd from the studious walls // To learn strange arts, and join a gipsy-tribe; // And thou from earth art gone // Long since, and in some quiet churchyard laid- // Some country-nook, where o'er thy unknown grave // Tall grasses and white flowering nettles wave, // Under a dark, red-fruited yew-tree's shade. // -No, no, thou hast not felt the lapse of hours! // For what wears out the life of mortal men? // 'Tis that from change to change their being rolls; // 'Tis that repeated shocks, again, again, // Exhaust the energy of strongest souls // And numb the elastic powers. // Till having used our nerves with bliss and teen, // And tired upon a thousand schemes our wit, // To the just-pausing Genius we remit // Our worn-out life, and are-what we have been. // Thou hast not lived, why should'st thou perish, so? // Thou hadst one aim, one business, one desire; // Else wert thou long since number'd with the dead! // Else hadst thou spent, like other men, thy fire! // The generations of thy peers are fled, // And we ourselves shall go; // But thou possessest an immortal lot, // And we imagine thee exempt from age // And living as thou liv'st on Glanvil's page, // Because thou hadst-what we, alas! have not. // For early didst thou leave the world, with powers // Fresh, undiverted to the world without, // Firm to their mark, not spent on other things; // Free from the sick fatigue, the languid doubt, // Which much to have tried, in much been baffled, brings. // O life unlike to ours! // Who fluctuate idly without term or scope, // Of whom each strives, nor knows for what he strives, // And each half lives a hundred different lives; // Who wait like thee, but not, like thee, in hope. // Thou waitest for the spark from heaven! and we, // Light half-believers of our casual creeds, // Who never deeply felt, nor clearly will'd, // Whose insight never has borne fruit in deeds, // Whose vague resolves never have been fulfill'd; // For whom each year we see // Breeds new beginnings, disappointments new; // Who hesitate and falter life away, // And lose to-morrow the ground won to-day- // Ah! do not we, wanderer! await it too? // Yes, we await it!-but it still delays, // And then we suffer! and amongst us one, // 9 // Who most has suffer'd, takes dejectedly // His seat upon the intellectual throne; // And all his store of sad experience he // Lays bare of wretched days; // Tells us his misery's birth and growth and signs, // And how the dying spark of hope was fed, // And how the breast was soothed, and how the head, // And all his hourly varied anodynes. // This for our wisest! and we others pine, // And wish the long unhappy dream would end, // And waive all claim to bliss, and try to bear; // With close-lipp'd patience for our only friend, // Sad patience, too near neighbour to despair- // But none has hope like thine! // Thou through the fields and through the woods dost stray, // Roaming the country-side, a truant boy, // Nursing thy project in unclouded joy, // And every doubt long blown by time away. // O born in days when wits were fresh and clear, // And life ran gaily as the sparkling Thames; // Before this strange disease of modern life, // With its sick hurry, its divided aims, // Its heads o'ertax'd, its palsied hearts, was rife- // Fly hence, our contact fear! // Still fly, plunge deeper in the bowering wood! // Averse, as Dido did with gesture stern // From her false friend's approach in Hades turn, // Wave us away, and keep thy solitude! // Still nursing the unconquerable hope, // Still clutching the inviolable shade, // With a free, onward impulse brushing through, // By night, the silver'd branches of the glade- // Far on the forest-skirts, where none pursue, // On some mild pastoral slope // Emerge, and resting on the moonlit pales // Freshen thy flowers as in former years // With dew, or listen with enchanted ears, // From the dark dingles, to the nightingales! // But fly our paths, our feverish contact fly! // For strong the infection of our mental strife, // Which, though it gives no bliss, yet spoils for rest; // And we should win thee from thy own fair life, // Like us distracted, and like us unblest. // Soon, soon thy cheer would die, // Thy hopes grow timorous, and unfix'd thy powers, // And thy clear aims be cross and shifting made; // And then thy glad perennial youth would fade, // Fade and grow old at last, and die like ours. // Then fly our greetings, fly our speech and smiles! // -As some grave Tyrian trader, from the sea, // 10 // Descried at sunrise an emerging prow // Lifting the cool-hair'd creepers stealthily, // The fringes of a southward-facing brow // Among the ’g‘an Isles; // And saw the merry Grecian coaster come, // Freighted with amber grapes, and Chian wine, // Green, bursting figs, and tunnies steep'd in brine- // And knew the intruders on his ancient home, // The young light-hearted masters of the waves- // And snatch'd his rudder, and shook out more sail; // And day and night held on indignantly // O'er the blue Midland waters with the gale, // Betwixt the Syrtes and soft Sicily, // To where the Atlantic raves // Outside the western straits; and unbent sails // There, where down cloudy cliffs, through sheets of foam, // Shy traffickers, the dark Iberians come; // And on the beach undid his corded bales. // Matthew Arnold...


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