Thank you for the opportunity to help you with your question!
"Sea of Faith" represents the "ocean" of religious
belief in the world—all of our faith put together. Notice that Arnold
capitalizes this term and puts it all by itself at the
top of the stanza, so we're sure to notice that it's super-important.
was a time, the speaker says, when that "Sea of Faith" was at
high tide "full" just like the English Channel is right now.
really driving this whole ocean-as-metaphor thing hard.
what's he referring to? Perhaps an earlier time, when religion was more
important in people's lives?
Throughout the poem, the sea is used as an image and a
metaphor. At first, it is beautiful to look at in the moonlight (ll.1-8), then
it begins to make hostile sounds ("grating roar" (l. 9);
"tremulous cadence" (l.13)) that evoke a general feeling of sadness.
In the third stanza, the sea is turned into a metaphoric "Sea of
Faith" (l.21) — a symbol for a time when religion could still be
experienced without the doubts brought about by progress and science (Darwinism).
Now, the 'Sea of Faith' and thus the certainty of religion withdraws itself
from the human grasp and leaves only darkness behind.
Please let me know if you need any clarification. I'm always happy to answer your questions.
Jul 8th, 2015
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