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Songs

Dover Beach

by Samuel Barber

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Text

Dover Beach
source: Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm tonight,
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,
Glimm’ring 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 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.

Composer

Samuel Barber

Samuel Osmond Barber II (March 9, 1910 – January 23, 1981) was an American composer, pianist, conductor, baritone, and music educator.

Poet

Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold was an English poet and cultural critic, as well as a school inspector. 

Performances

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