by Matthew Arnold
The moon makes a couple of cameos at the beginning. Even though its role in this poem is pretty brief, we think it's important. The opening parts of "Dover Beach" are so much about the world that we see, and the moon is one of the crucial features of that first scene. It helps to establish a feeling of calm that will later be completely shattered.
- Line 2: Here the moon is part of the happy natural imagery that opens the poem. In this line the moon is described as being "fair" (lovely or beautiful). If we only read this first stanza, we might think we were dealing with a simple little nature poem, or a happy sonnet, perhaps. Our speaker has bigger and darker plans than that, though.
- Line 8: The world is still pretty much okay when the moon shows up here. Still, we think there are little hints that not everything is just great. There's something just a little bit sinister about the sound of the land being "moon-blanched." It makes us think of something being unnaturally pale, maybe even a little deathlike.