by Gideon Burton
after Matthew Arnold (see below)
Calm sea, full tide, fair moon upon the straits.
The cliffs of England standing vast and grand.
Come to the window, sweet the air that sprays
where -- look -- the glimmering sea meets moon-blanched land.
And listen, hear the grating pebbles roar
as waves draw back and fling them up the strand
in cadence slow, returning as before,
the same that Sophocles found sadly bland.
The Sea of Faith once folded-golden full
withdraws in melancholy moaning back,
so many pebbles roughened down to dull,
as night winds' naked edges sink to black.
This darkling plain, this world, sans joy and light--
My love, be true, for we are swept by night.
Photo: flickr - Stuart Hines
by Matthew Arnold
The sea is calm to-night,
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straights; -- 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 Ægean, 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.