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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Of Dreams, Longing and Satisfaction: "Golden Slumbers"


Longing by Matthew Arnold (1822–1888)


Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!
For so the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.

Come, as thou cam'st a thousand times,
A messenger from radiant climes,
And smile on thy new world, and be
As kind to others as to me!

Or, as thou never cam'st in sooth,
Come now, and let me dream it truth,
And part my hair, and kiss my brow,
And say, My love why sufferest thou?

Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!
For so the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.

Can we capture and experience our conscious desires in dreams? After all, in our conscious existence, we are encouraged by the wise to "follow our dreams" and expand our lofty horizons to reach contentment and to find purpose. Do "dreams," or sincere desires in consciousness also connect with our ethereal "dreams" of slumber in terms of important aspirations and even essential love?

Might this appetite for longing also be an essential part of our existence in the fantasy and the mystery of chimera allusion. If dreams are a series of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring in the mind during certain stages of sleep, they certainly must serve a very important purpose for the development of our psyche and our soul. The question begs an answer: "Can we effectively dream something to satisfy the 'longing of the day'"?

Reality, in everyday usage, means "the state of things as they actually exist". The term reality, in its widest sense, includes everything that is, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. Reality in this sense may include both being and nothingness, whereas existence is often restricted to being (compare with nature).

In other words, "reality" as a philosophical category includes the formal concept of "nothingness" and articulations and combinations of it with other concepts (those possessing extension in physical objects or processes for example). How about a certain "reality" in dreams?

Matthew Arnold

Getting To Know Matthew Arnold

British poet and sage writer Matthew Arnold was among the major Victorian writers sharing in a revival of interest and respect in the second half of the twentieth century.

The poem “To Marguerite -- Continued” was first published in 1852 under the title “To Marguerite, in Returning a Volume of the Letters of Ortis.” In 1853, Arnold gave this poem the simple title “To Marguerite” and included it in a group of poems with the general title of “Switzerland.” In 1857, he titled this poem “Isolation,” but in 1869 he gave that title to another “Switzerland” poem and assigned to this poem its final title.

Marguerite, mentioned in the title of the poem, was Arnold’s love interest that ended abruptly, when he met and married his wife. The Victorian poet dandy met the fling-not-developed, Marguerite, twice during vacations to Switzerland.  And, so the poem bemoans the distance between the speaker in England and the flame “on the continent.”

People attempt to explain Arnold’s poetry via biography.  But his poems use autobiographical materials as symbols for philosophical, emotional, and cultural exploration. The powerful force of romantic love threatened to frustrate entirely the longing to take "measure of his soul" and so to be "calmed, ennobled, comforted, or sustained."

To Marguerite Continued

"YES: in the sea of life *enisled,
With echoing straits between us thrown.
Dotting the shoreless watery wild,
We mortal millions live alone.
The islands feel the enclasping flow,
And then their endless bounds they know.

"But when the moon their hollow lights,
And they are swept by balms of spring,
And in their glens, on starry nights,
The nightingales divinely sing;
And lovely notes, from shore to shore,
Across the sounds and channels pour;

"O then a longing like despair
Is to their farthest caverns sent!
For surely once, they feel, we were
Parts of a single continent.
Now round us spreads the watery plain–
O might our *marges meet again!

"Who order’d that their longing’s fire
Should be, as soon as kindled, cool’d?
Who renders vain their deep desire?–
A God, a God their severence ruled;
And bade betwixt their shores to be
The unplumb’d, salt, estranging sea."

* "placed on an island"
* "margins"

Arnold's anguish is that of the lover who could not surrender himself to passion. For a man who believed above all in self-control and integrity, the outcome of a conflict between the Platonic and the Byronic (or between the shades of Dr. Arnold and of George Sand) could not be long in doubt.
There is as much of relief as of desolation in his poem "Self-Dependence." Standing at the prow of the ship bearing him back to England, "Weary of myself, and sick of asking/ What I am, and what I ought to be," Arnold sends "a look of passionate desire" (the only one on record) to the stars, and asks that they "Calm me, ah, compose me to the end!" The Socratic answer comes, that to live "self-poised" as the stars do, there is only one prescription:" 'Resolve to be thyself; and know that he,/Who finds himself, loses his misery!'"

Having survived exposure to the storms of passion in the Alps, Arnold still felt the need for a love and companionship compatible with the needs of ordinary human nature, and before long he was attracted by the charms of a more suitable English girl, the daughter of a judge. The conventional courtship which followed, and which produced some charming lyrics, was prolonged until Arnold could obtain a position with an income that would support a wife.

He achieved this when Lord Lansdowne had him appointed inspector of schools in April 1851, and the marriage to Frances Lucy Wightman took place in June. Though his first volume of poetry, The Strayed Reveller and Other Poems (1849), and the second, Empedocles on Etna and Other Poems (1852), both published under the pseudonym "A.," received limited attention and were soon withdrawn from circulation in spite of praise from a discerning few, Arnold continued writing poetry. His reputation was established with his third volume, Poems: A New Edition (1853), the first published under his name.


In the poem "Longing" by Matthew Arnold, the speaker longs for his love, the object of his desirous affection. He begs her to come to him in his dreams, and, if she does, then, by day, he says he "shall be well again." Here day and night are set in contrast with each other with the former being the suffering of life and the latter being unconscious delivery in a dream of passionate attainment.

The speaker says such a love has come to those in a new world "a thousand times" as a kind "messenger" from "radiant climes" Of course, the word radiant is associated with bright, shining beauty characterized by intense joy and happiness. His "messenger" is apparently a very lovely being.

But, in addition, in astronomy, the word radiant refers to the apparent origin (the clime or "region and its climate") in the night sky, of a meteor shower. The image of the speaker's lover is both celestial and awe inspiring -- a striking and brilliant "meteoric" vision he beckons to his dreams.

"Or, as thou never cam'st in sooth,
Come now, and let me dream it truth,
And part my hair, and kiss my brow,
And say, My love why sufferest thou?"

Matthew Arnold's poems often dealt with man's lonely state and of a search for an inner self. It should also be noted that one important theme which runs through the poetry of Matthew Arnold is the issue of faith and the sense of isolation that man can feel without faith.

Faith can most definitely encompass the dreams of mortals. Isn't is true that for those with faith, those things which have not "cam'st in sooth" in reality can emerge as "truth" in dreams? In this manner, longing is remedied. But, oh those dreams... they do haunt the daytime hours. I'm reminded of some more classic rock.

"The Dream"
Songwriter: Graeme Edge, by the Moody Blues

When the white eagle of the North is flying overhead
The browns, reds and golds of autumn lie in the gutter, dead.
Remember then, that summer birds with wings of fire flaying
Came to witness springs new hope, born of leaves decaying.
Just as new life will come from death, love will come at leisure.
Love of love, love of life and giving without measure
Gives in return a wonderous yearn of a promise almost seen.
Live hand-in-hand and together we'll stand on the threshold of a dream.

"So Deep Within You" 
by the Moody Blues

Talk to me baby, I want to sleep at night.
My heart is heavy, it's weighed down by the night.
And now I'm lonely, I want to see the light
So deep within you.
Cool wind is blowing through your crazy hair.
Warm colours flowing, this feeling we have shared.
And now I'm lonely I want to feel the love
So deep within you.
Your love's a never ending dream,
A castle by a stream of sweet understanding.
I know you're thinking of me too, the messages
From you are my inspiration.
Love's incense lingers, it never fades away.
Like you I'm waiting for our special day.
And now I'm lonely I want to feel the love
So deep within you
My love is burning, like a forest fire.
My heart is yearning, I feel a warm desire.
And now I'm lonely I want to tough the fire
So deep within you.

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