For others it may provoke a thought or memory of the past such as the childhood holidays with your parents.The lines in the poem could be provoking these thoughts so that you can empathize later to what he is experiencing in the poem.As yet, there is no emotion or thought, only images, quiet. By the fourth line, already, something has changed. This imagery will appear again and again in the poem.
But the persona who speaks now hears only its “melancholy, long, withdrawing roar.” The tide is going out, leaving the “naked shingles” of the world, which literally means the loose pebbles that collect on beaches, but of course also brings to mind a lonely house.
The last stanza goes back to the beginning, to those beautiful calm images, and says, “the world, which seems to lie before us like a land of dreams, so various, so beautiful, so new, ” isn’t any of that.
However, as the poem progresses we are gradually introduced to a large metaphor for love and like the sea are able to evoke many moods, and different emotions, whether prosperous or decayed.
The poet describes the emotions with extreme passion and perhaps with slight hysteria.
The beach, with its white cliffs, help give the readers a sense of dominance and magnificence.
The poet may have done this as to set the mood for the opening stanza.
Here we have a comparison between human misery, ebbing and flowing, and the sea, ebbing and flowing.
Arnold continues the comparison by adding another note: not only is human misery like the sea, so too is human faith, which “was once, too, at the full, ” and then with a bit of simile continues: “like the folds of a bright girdle.” Perhaps that would count as personification of the earth, because a girdle is something humans wear.
Sophocles long ago Heard it on the Aegean, 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.