"Dover Beach" Notes

Arnold is addressing his new wife, Frances Lucy Wightman, shortly after they married and took a trip to Dover.  I don't know if it was an official honeymoon, but it was like one.

The Cliffs of Dover

The beautiful cliffs of Dover traditionally made people think of the majesty of God. 

By Arnold's time, the Diests and Darwinists had done their work. 

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.

The sea of faith his gone out, like the tide retreating from the beach.

So what's left to us in this lonely state?  We can be true to each other.