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NOTES AND QUESTIONS Biography. John James Audubon (1780-1851) was born near New Orleans. His mother died while he was very young, and his father, who was a Frenchman, took the boy to France. There Audubon grew up and was educated. He studied drawing with some of the celebrated French artists. In 1798 he returned to America, and from then on he spent most of his time in this country. He devoted himself to the study of natural history and especially to birds. His great work, The Birds of America, contains life-size pictures of more than a thousand birds. The drawings for these he made himself, and they are artistically excellent as well as true to nature. “The Mocking Bird” is taken from the text made by Audubon to accompany the pictures. Because of his interest in birds, the clubs for the care and study of birds, which have been formed throughout the United States, are called “Audubon Societies.”
Discussion. 1. The first two paragraphs describe the place where the bird lives; how does the description of the second paragraph differ from that of the first? 2. How does the author imply that the richness of the plant life of this region is reproduced in the bird's song? 3. How does Aubudon say the musical powers of the mocking bird compare with those of the nightingale? 4. You will enjoy hearing Victor records : “Mocking Bird,” Gluck, with bird voices by Kellogg; “Bird Chorus” and “Songs of Our Native Birds,” Kellogg; “Songs and Calls of Our Native Birds,” Gorst; also Columbia record, “Bird Calls,” Avis. 5. In the Introduction on pages 25 and 26 you read that some selections present the facts of Nature as interpreted through the poets' imagination, while others show what men of scientific training have observed; which does this story represent? 6. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: diversified; hautboy; modulations; derived; imparted; resort; essays. 7. Pronounce: bignonias; genial; species, foliage; ruffian; Mozart.
Phrases for Study exuberant fertility, 67,
propagated in succession, 70, 19 extent of its compass, 68, 10
soubrette of taste, 70, 30 mutual consideration, 68, 26
finished talent, 70, 33 attunes his pipe anew, 69, 1
Outline for Testing Silent Reading. Make an outline to guide you in telling the main thoughts of this selection.
Library Reading. “A Mocking Bird,” Bynner, and "The Mocking Bird,” Stanton (in Melody of Earth); "Bob, the Mocking Bird,” Lanier (in The Lanier Book); selections from Our Humble Helpers, Fabre.
Suggestions for Theme Topics
The reading period calls forth many interesting subjects that you will wish to learn more about and discuss with your classmates. You will find it well worth while occasionally to make a' report to the class on some particular subject connected with your reading lesson that you have become interested in and to which you have given some thought and study. Most of these reports you will doubtless like to give orally, but some of them you may wish to present in written form. Whether your report is oral or written, always make sure that it has a good beginning, tells interesting facts, and ends well. You will add interest to your report if you appeal to the eyes as well as to the ears of your audience by the use of pictures, maps, and blackboard sketches.
You will add to your knowledge of the subject, (a) by first-hand experience; (b) by talking with persons familiar with the subject; (c) or by further reading. Indeed all of these sources should be freely drawn upon in preparing on a theme topic. Here are some suggestions: 1. An incident from your own observation of a mocking bird (or any other song bird). 2. What I know about Audubon's great work, The Birds of America. 3. Incidents from the lives of other naturalists (Fabre, Thoreau, Burroughs, etc.). 4. An Audubon society that I know about and what it has accomplished. 5. A review of "Bob: the Story of Our Mocking Bird,” Lanier (in The Lanier Book). 6. What I know about making bird houses, bird baths, and feeding shelves. (Bird Houses and How to Build Them and How to Attract Birds, sent free by Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.)
“And the yellow moonlight glistened
On braids of elfin hair;
Fell softer than any air.
5 "And their petticoats, gay as bubbles,
They hung up, every one,
Till their moonlight bath was done.
"And the red cock crew too early,
And the fairies fled in fear,
Like blossoms hanging here."
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. Madison Cawein (1865-1915) was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and received his education in the public schools. In 1887 he published his first poems in a book called Blooms of the Berry. In most of his poems, Nature is the theme. He spent his life learning her ways and describing them in poetry full of rich imagery. Cawein is often called "the Keats of Kentucky,” because of the resemblance of his verses to those of the great English poet.
Discussion. 1. The poet has made a compound word by using the name Shakespeare gave to a fairy or sprite with the word “airy." What do you think was his purpose in doing this? 2. When is the name of the flower first mentioned? 3. What reason do you think the poet had for not telling it earlier? 4. Who told the poet this story? 5. How can you learn to know flowers as this poet knew them?
6. What poems have you read in which the poet talks to a bird or a flower? 7. Why does the poet think of the fairies as fleeing at cockcrow? 8. Compare this poem with Keats's “Sweet Peas” (in The Elson Readers, Book Seven, page 78). 9. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: Ariel-airy; aromatic;
elfin. Pronounce: jessamine; Titania. Class Reading. Bring to class and read: “The Flowerphone,” Brown (in Melody of Earth).
PINE-TREES AND THE SKY: EVENING
I'd watched the sorrow of the evening sky,
And in them all was only the old cry,
You may remember now, and think, and sigh,
And because I,
One moment of the good hours that were over.
Then from the sad west turning wearily,
I saw the pines against the white north sky, 15 Very beautiful, and still, and bending over
Their sharp black heads against a quiet sky.
And laughed, and did no longer wish to die;
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) was born in Rugby, England. When the World War broke out, he gave up his advanced studies at Cambridge University to become Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, and accompanied the Antwerp Expeditionary Force in October, 1914. In February, 1915, he sailed with the British Mediterranean Force, to take part in the Dardanelles Campaign. Because of an attack of blood