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Nightingale and Other Poems are titles of his collections of poetry. The poet's home is in Springfield, Illinois, the former home and the burialplace of Abraham Lincoln.
Discussion. 1. Abraham Lincoln typifies the life and yearnings of the common people, and for this reason he has appealed to the poets who help interpret life for us; mention some other poets who have made Lincoln the subject of poems. 2. Why does this poet feel that Lincoln cannot "sleep upon the hill”? 3. What will bring rest to him again? 4. What is being done today to bring about the “spirit-dawn”? 5. What answer would you like to make to the poet's question? 6. What lines do you like especially well? 7. Another modern poet, Arthur Guiterman, in “He Leads Us Still," has also expressed the idea that Lincoln's spirit lives today. The poem closes
"He leads us still! O'er chasms yet unspanned
8. Look up in the Glossary the meaning of: portentous; state; scouring; main; Cornland; Alp; travail.
CLOSE UP THE RANKS!
EDWARD SIMS VAN ZILE
Gently Death came and bent to him asleep;
5 “Who'll hearten us to carry on the war
For those ideals our fathers battled for;
With his last breath he gave a clarion cry:
5 "By them who'll reap a harvest of despair;
By them whose dreams unstable are as air;
Our leader rests, his voice forever still; 10 But let us vow to do our leader's will!
Close up the ranks! Our Captain is not dead!
Led forward fighting for the real, the true,
Not turned aside by what the dreamers do. 15 If he could speak he would not have us weep;
But souls awake whose Captain lies asleep.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS Biography. Edward Sims Van Zile (1863- ), a native of Troy, New York, is an editorial writer and author. He is editor of Current Literature.
Discussion. 1. What thought in "Close Up the Ranks!” is similar to that expressed in “Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight” and in “He Leads Us Still”? 2. What ideals that Roosevelt stood for are expressed in this poem? 3. What is the significance of the title? 4. Lines 4-8, above, utter a warning against certain types of men who spread “seed" that will result in “a harvest of despair.” What types of such men does Roosevelt warn us against in “The Heritage of Noble Lives," on page 306? 5. Look up in the Glossary the meaning of: crusade; clarion.
Magazine Reading. In the Review of Reviews for July, 1919, there is a collection of poems written on the death of Theodore Roosevelt, among them “Great-Heart,” by Kipling, who is an admirer of Roosevelt. Be prepared to read to the class the poem in this collection that appeals most strongly to you.
THE GREAT AMERICAN EXPERIMENT
You have learned in your study of history that the spirit of freedom is eternal; that ever since the world began, libertyloving men have fought to win freedom for themselves and for those that come after them. You have traced with particular interest the development of freedom in our own country from the time the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock to our participation in the World War. You have discovered that history, which deals with a record of facts, appeals to your understanding, while literature, which takes the facts of history as a basis and treats them with imagination, appeals particularly to your feelings. What are the historic facts--the "dramatic moments in history" about which you read in the Introduction, page 253— upon which the various poems in the group called “The Eternal Spirit of Freedom” are based ? Compare the poet's treatment of Paul Revere's ride with the historian's treatment, as found in your history textbooks. Discuss in class which method of treatment, the literary or the historic, is the more likely to inspire noble conduct. To the poets represented in this group the love of freedom was a strong conviction, not an idle sentiment; which of them sacrificed their lives to maintain this principle? Give the circumstances in each case. Read again what is said on page 56 about lyrics and note that patriotism, like Nature, is a favorite theme for lyric poets; what lyrics do you find in this group? Which of these were inspired by the World War?
The three groups of selections in Part III illustrate how the spirit of freedom and patriotism has manifested itself, about which you read in the Introduction, page 256; with what idea of free government do the selections in the second group deal? At the time of the American Revolution what was the situation in Europe as to free government? What distinctly new feature characterized the American experiment in free government? What foundations for such a form of government had already been laid in England, about which you read in the Introduction, page 255? What arguments for adoption of the Declaration of Independence does Webster make in his "Supposed Speech of John Adams"? What did you learn from Washington of America's place in the world? In what respects were the ideas of the British poet Burns and the American poet Whittier alike? What famous definition of our government did Abraham Lincoln make? America is called the land of opportunity; how does Woodrow Wilson show that Abraham Lincoln's life proves the truth of this claim? What do you learn from Henry W. Grady about the relationship between love of home and good citizenship?
But even the best system of government cannot succeed unless men everywhere feel the bond of human brotherhood and are willing to work for the common welfare. What title is given the third group of selections in Part III? Hermann Hagedorn calls the boys and girls of America "the hope of the world”; do you think he expects too much from them or do you think they are ready to take up responsibility? What can you do in your home and school and neighborhood to help put into practice the "glorious experiment of democracy”? What great service of Washington and Lincoln does Roosevelt point out? What fine expression of his feeling for a great service did Lincoln make? How was Yussouf's feeling for "the brotherhood of man" tested? American boys and girls have daily opportunities to render individual service; what opportunities for organized service does the Junior Red Cross offer? The Camp Fire Girls? The Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts? What part does your school take in these national organizations? Discuss in class (two-minute talks) the purposes of each of these organizations as expressed in their laws, pledges, mottoes, and emblems. Read again the last paragraph of the Introduction, page 256, and think how you, as an individual and as a member of one of these national organizations, may help to carry on the great tradition” of liberty and service. What ideals of life and service are exemplified in the poems, “Columbus,” “The Bugle Song,” and “The Chambered Nautilus”? What ideals of conduct did you gain from Cardinal Newman?
What progress have you made in silent reading? Compare your record for speed and comprehension with that of your classmates and with the eighth-grade standard. What library reading have you done in connection with your study of Part III? Was any oral discussion growing out of "Suggestions for Theme Topics" in Part III so stimulating that it resulted in a worthwhile class activity? Which "Suggested Problem" was most helpful? Plan a program for a "Service Day" or a "Good Citizenship Day,” from material found or suggested in this book, with the help of the library and the department of music. How do you think “A Code of Morals," Hutchins (in American Magazine, April, 1918), may be used to help American boys and girls realize their ideals of good citizenship? Bring to class any newspaper or magazine article that points out ways for improving the neighborhood or the city.