Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold
Dover Beach is a poem by Matthew Arnold, published in 1867. The poem is set in the seaside town of Dover, England, and describes the gradual fading of the town’s beauty and historical significance. The poem reflects on the changes that have taken place over time, and how they have affected the town’s inhabitants. The poem also contains several religious and philosophical references, which add to its overall meaning. Dover Beach is considered to be one of Arnold’s most important works and is often studied in schools and colleges. It remains a popular choice for literary anthologies.
The hidden meaning behind Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold
One of the first things that you might notice about Dover Beach is that it is written in iambic pentameter. This means that there are five beats in each line, and each beat is an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. This kind of meter is often used in poems about love because it gives the poem a sense of rhythm and flow.
The title of the poem, “Dover Beach,” also has a hidden meaning. Dover is a city in England that is known for its white cliffs. The word “beach” can also be interpreted to mean “shore” or “coast.” So, the title of the poem could be interpreted to mean “the shore at Dover.”
The first stanza of the poem describes the scene at Dover Beach. The speaker is talking about how the tide is coming in and the waves are crashing against the cliffs. He says that it is a “calm night” and you can hear the “eternal note” of the waves.
The second stanza is where the hidden meaning of the poem begins to come out. The speaker talks about how the tide is coming in and taking all of the pebbles with it. He says that this is a metaphor for how time takes away everything eventually. This stanza is also full of religious imagery. The speaker talks about how the tide is like a “sacrament” and how the pebbles are like “altars.”
The third stanza is where the hidden meaning of the poem comes to light. The speaker talks about how love is like the tide. It comes in and washes away everything else. This stanza is also full of religious imagery. The speaker talks about how love is like a “sacrament” and how it washes away all of our sins.
The fourth stanza is the final stanza of the poem. The speaker talks about how the tide is coming in and taking everything with it. He says that this is a metaphor for how time takes away everything eventually. This stanza is also full of religious imagery. The speaker talks about how the tide is like a “sacrament” and how it washes away all of our sins.
The religious and philosophical references in Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold
Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold is a poem that is rich in religious and philosophical references. The title itself alludes to the famous beach in England where, according to legend, Julius Caesar first landed when he invaded Britain. In the opening lines of the poem, the speaker compares the sound of the waves crashing against the shore to the “eternal note” of a “grand, old Greek lyre.” This comparison sets up a contrast between the natural, physical world, and spiritual worlds. The waves represent the constant change and flux of the material world, while the eternal note of the lyre represents the changelessness of the divine.
Arnold goes on to say that the world is “marred” by the “darkling plain” of human existence. This darkling plain is a reference to the Book of Genesis, where it is said that God created the world and saw that it was good, but then humanity fell into sin and brought darkness and suffering into the world. The speaker suggests that, despite all the darkness and suffering, there is still beauty to be found in the world. He compares the beauty of the Dover cliffs, illuminated by the moonlight, to “the solemn light” that shines from “heaven’s high brow.”
The final stanza of the poem returns to the contrast between the physical world and the spiritual world. The speaker says that, even though the material world is full of pain and suffering, we can still find hope and comfort in the eternal, changeless love of God. This love is like a “sea of faith” that surrounds and sustains us, even in the darkest times.
The religious and philosophical references in Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold provide a rich and complex backdrop for the poem’s simple but powerful message. Despite the darkness and suffering that mar our world, we can still find hope and beauty in the eternal love of God.
Dover Beach is one of the most famous and beloved poems in the English language. It is a beautiful and evocative work that has been admired and loved by generations of readers. The poem’s simple, yet powerful, message about the transitory nature of life and love has resonated with people from all walks of life.