The Forsaken Merman

by Matthew Arnold

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What is the summary of Matthew Arnold's poem, "The Forsaken Merman"?

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Matthew Arnold's poem, "The Forsaken Merman," tells the story of a merman (a male version of a mermaid) and his human wife who live beneath the seas. The two have borne children and seem happy together. But one day the wife hears church bells at Easter and tells her husband that she must go. Thinking her visit is only a short one, he wishes her well. However, the wife never returns. The merman and his children emerge from the sea to seek her out. They find her sitting in her new home. She seems happy at first, but she often looks through her window upon the sea and sighs. The merman and his children call out for her once again to return, but to no avail. They leave her behind and return to their watery home.

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