I was trying to recite the last part of Matthew Arnold's Dover Beach to someone at a dinner part, and stumbling over it:
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.
It's one of my favourites, and you would think that I could get it right by now. Not that I try to recite it that often. Then I remembered Anthony Hecht's parody, The Dover Bitch. I looked it up as soon as I got home:
So there stood Matthew Arnold and this girl
With the cliffs of England crumbling away behind them,
And he said to her, "Try to be true to me,
And I'll do the same for you, for things are bad
All over, etc., etc." ...
Go and read it, if you don't know it. Read them both together. It's wonderful stuff.

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