Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Note. “The Chambered Nautilus" appeared in the Atlantic Monthly in 1858. The poet makes the "wrecked" shell that lies before him a symbol of life. The nautilus builds each year a new and larger cell or compartment, into which it moves, closing up the cell that it previously occupied. If you have seen a nautilus shell you will understand how well it symbolizes progress and growth, and how well the poet has described both the form and the color of the shell.

Discussion. 1. In what stanzas does the poet talk to us about the nautilus? 2. In what stanza does he address the shell? 3. Which stanza tells the message brought by the shell? 4. Why was it necessary for the poet to tell us the history of the shell before he interpreted its message? 5. What made it possible for the poet to hear the message brought by the shell? 6. Does this help you understand what kind of boy Oliver Wendell Holmes must have been? 7. To what old belief concerning the nautilus does the poet refer in the first stanza? 8. What things mentioned show that the poet is thinking of the warm waters in which the nautilus lives? 9. Do you like the use of the word "wrecked" in connection with the nautilus? Why? 10. Who was the "frail tenant"? 11. What does the broken shell reveal? 12. Find lines in the third stanza which tell how the cells are formed and why they were “sunless” as long as the shell was unbroken? 13. How may the soul build more lofty mansions? What thoughts will help? What actions will help?

14. What does the poet mean by the "outgrown shell” of the soul? 15. Compare the lesson of this poem with that of “The Bugle Song”; with that of "If.” 16. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: siren; irised; rent; crypt; lustrous; Triton. 17. Pronounce: coral; wont.

Phrases for Study

unshadowed main, 319, 2 chambered cell, 319, 10

wreathéd horn, 320, 8
low-vaulted past, 320, 13

A DEFINITION OF A GENTLEMAN

CARDINAL NEWMAN

It is almost a definition of a gentleman to say he is one who never inflicts pain. This description is both refined and, as far as it goes, accurate. He is mainly occupied in merely removing

the obstacles which hinder the free and unembarrassed action of 5 those about him; and he concurs with their movements rather

than takes the initiative himself. His benefits may be considered as parallel to what are called comforts or conveniences in arrangements of a personal nature—like an easy-chair or a

good fire, which do their part in dispelling cold and fatigue, 10 though Nature provides both means of rest and animal heat with

out them. The true gentleman in like manner carefully avoids whatever may cause a jar or a jolt in the minds of those with whom he is cast—all clashing of opinion, or collision of feeling,

all restraint, or suspicion, or gloom, or resentment; his great con15 cern being to make everyone at his ease and at home. He has

his eyes on all his company; he is tender toward the bashful, gentle toward the distant, and merciful toward the absurd; he can recollect to whom he is speaking; he guards against unsea

sonable allusions, or topics which may irritate; he is seldom 20 prominent in conversation, and never wearisome. He makes

light of favors while he does them, and seems to be receiving when he is conferring. He never speaks of himself except when compelled; never defends himself by a mere retort. He has no

ears for slander or gossip; is scrupulous in imputing motives to 25 those who interfere with him; and interprets everything for the

best. He is never mean or little in his disputes; never takes unfair advantage; never mistakes personalities or sharp sayings for arguments; or insinuates evil which he dare not say out.

From a long-sighted prudence he observes the maxim of the 30 ancient sage, that we should ever conduct ourselves toward our enemy as if he were one day to be our friend. He has too much good sense to be affronted at insults; he is too well employed to remember injuries; and too indolent to bear malice. He is

patient, forbearing, and resigned, on philosophical principles; he 5 submits to pain because it is inevitable, to bereavement because

it is irreparable, and to death because it is his destiny. If he engages in controversy of any kind, his disciplined intellect preserves him from the blundering discourtesy of better, perhaps,

but less educated minds; who, like blunt weapons, tear and hack 10 instead of cutting clean, who mistake the point in argument,

waste their strength on trifles, misconceive their adversary, and leave the question more involved than they find it. He may be right or wrong in his opinion, but he is too clear-headed to be

unjust; he is as simple as he is forcible, and as brief as he is 15 decisive. Nowhere shall we find greater candor, consideration,

indulgence. He throws himself into the minds of his opponents; he accounts for their mistakes. He knows the weakness of human reason as well as its strength, its province, and its limits.

NOTES AND QUESTIONS Biography. John Henry Newman (1801-1890), a distinguished clergyman, was born in London. He was graduated from Trinity College, Oxford, and became noted as a scholar and a preacher. In 1879 he was made a Cardinal. This selection is taken from his book, The Idea of a University. Cardinal Newman is well known as the author of the familiar hymn, “Lead, Kindly Light,” which he wrote while on a voyage in the Mediterranean Sea.

Discussion. 1. What undesirable qualities does Cardinal Newman mention that you have perhaps discovered in yourself—or in othersand that you have determined to make war against ? 2. What useful hints have you earned for making and preserving friendships, and for the treatment of enemies? 3. Memorize and apply Tennyson's lines about good time when all the boys and girls “have eyes on all the company,” instead of separating into cliques? 5. What does this selection add to your idea of service? 6. Why is this selection a fitting summary of the poems that precede it in this group? 7. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: initiative; retort; insinuate; indolent; resigned; candor. 8. Pronounce: affronted; irreparable; misconceive; province.

manners:

“For manners are not idle, but the fruit
Of loyal nature and of noble mind.”

4. Have you observed in your school social-affairs that everyone has a

Phrases for Study concurs with their movements, scrupulous in imputing, 322, 24 322, 5

philosophical principles, 323, 4 unseasonable allusions, 322, 18

disciplined intellect, 323, 7

A Suggested Problem. Make a list of five suggestions learned from Cardinal Newman which you resolve to put into practice, choosing the ones that apply especially to you; keep the list before you and check up on yourself. (Like means were used by Washington and Franklin to improve their conduct.)

ABRAHAM LINCOLN WALKS AT MIDNIGHT

(In Springfield, Illinois)

VACHEL LINDSAY

It is portentous, and a thing of state,
That here at midnight, in our little town,
A mourning figure walks, and will not rest,
Near the old courthouse pacing up and down.

5 Or by his homestead, or in shadowed yards,

He lingers where his children used to play;
Or through the market, on the well-worn stones,
He stalks until the dawn-stars burn away.

A bronzed, lank man! His suit of ancient black, 10 A famous high top hat, and plain worn shawl

Make him the quaint great figure that men love,
The prairie-lawyer, master of us all.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN WALKS AT MIDNIGHT

325

He cannot sleep upon his hillside now.
He is among us—as in times before!
And we who toss and lie awake for long
Breathe deep, and start, to see him pass the door.

5 His head is bowed. He thinks on men and kings.

Yea, when the sick world cries, how can he sleep?
Too many peasants fight, they know not why;
Too many homesteads in black terror weep.

The sins of all the war-lords burn his heart.
10 He sees the dreadnaughts scouring every main.

He carries on his shawl-wrapped shoulders now
The bitterness, the folly, and the pain.

He cannot rest until a spirit-dawn

Shall come—the shining hope of Europe free; 15 The league of sober folk, the Worker's Earth,

Bringing long peace to Cornland, Alp, and Sea.

It breaks his heart that kings must murder still,
That all his hours of travail here for men

Seem yet in vain. And who will bring white peace 20 That he may sleep upon his hill again?

NOTES AND QUESTIONS Biography. Vachel Lindsay (1879- ) is one of America's best known modern poets. He has recited his poems in many cities of the United States. In the summer of 1912 he walked from Illinois to New Mexico, distributing his rimes and speaking in behalf of the "gospel of beauty.” A Handy Guide for Beggars is his story of a similar journey through Georgia, and in it he tells how everywhere, like the minstrels of old, he received hospitality in exchange for his songs.

His poetry breathes a spirit of human brotherhood that reminds one of Lincoln and Emerson and Walt Whitman. General William Booth Enters Heaven and Other Poems, The Congo and Other Poems, and The Chinese

[ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »