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-blanched 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 furled.
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."
1 Explain the poem's central analogy. Do you agree with the scholars who call it an elegy?
The poem’s central analogy in the poem is between the Ocean and the sad fleeting world.
Hmmmmm…. I am not sure it counts as an elegy… It definitely is definitely depressed, but I am not sure it is talking about the deceased. What do you all think??
2 Discuss the tone of the poem. How is it achieved?’
The tone is one of “human misery” and is achieved through use of careful and “melancholy” diction.
3 As believers, do we agree with the speaker's view of “the world,” as expressed in the fourth stanza? What is our response to his assessment?
No, we cannot agree fully. The world does have love and light, because we still have hope, but it is becoming a darker drearier place and I think we need to recognize this.