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poisoning he was removed from the transport to a French hospital, where he died very suddenly on April 23. He lies buried on the Greek island of Skyros. His poems appear under the titles, 1914 and Other Poems and Collected Poems.
Discussion. 1. What cause did the poet think the evening sky would have for sorrowing? 2. Why did the setting sun bring the thought that "the best is over"? 3. How did the cry of the sea-gull affect the poet? 4. The changing western sky made the poet think how life had changed for him; the fading color made him think of joys that were gone forever; what did he see when he turned to the north? Can you tell why he was comforted by the sight? 5. Can you tell why he felt brave and strong when he looked at the white sky and the quiet trees? 6. Compare this poem with Bryant's “To a Waterfowl”; what likenesses do
you find ?
Class Reading. Bring to class and read: “The Soldier,” Brooke; "The Island of Skyros” (a poem in memory of Brooke), Masefield.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON
In May, when sea winds pierced our solitudes,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook. 5 The purple petals fallen in the pool
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
I never thought to ask; I never knew; 15 But in my simple ignorance suppose
The selfsame power that brought me there brought you.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), a native of Boston, was born not far from Franklin's birthplace, but he lived most of his life in Concord, near Boston. He was the oldest among that brilliant group of New England scholars and writers that developed under the influence of Harvard College. Emerson was a quiet boy, but his high ambitions and sturdy determination were shown by the fact that he worked his way through college. He is best known for his essays, full of noble ideas which won for him the title “Sage of Concord.” As a poet, he was not particular about meter, making his lines often purposely rugged; but his verse is always full of thought. His poems of Nature are as clear-cut and vivid as snapshots.
Discussion. 1. Under what circumstances did the poet find the rhodora? 2. What tells you that the flower grew in a lonely place? 3. What comparison does the poet make between the color of the bird and the color of the flower? 4. Why is the poet not troubled at the thought of the rhodora's wasting its loveliness? 5. Mention ways in which we show that there is a use for beauty in the satisfaction it gives the eye. 6. Who can memorize these lines in the shortest time? 7. Read the fourth and last stanzas of "To a Waterfowl”; compare the thought in these stanzas with the thought in the last line of “The Rhodora.” 8. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: blooms; cheapens.
FLOWER IN THE CRANNIED WALL
ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON
Flower in the crannied wall,
I should know what God and man is.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) was one of the greatest English poets. At eight years of age he wrote verses and at fourteen a drama in blank verse. While a student at Cambridge University, he won a medal for his poem, “Timbuctoo." In 1842 he published two notable volumes of poems. After writing The Princess and In Memoriam he was appointed poet laureate, and from that time on he gradually became one of the most loved and most admired men in England. During his long life of eighty-three years Tennyson wrote a large amount of beautiful verse, contributing to the store of English literature some of its finest poems—The Idylls of the King, In Memoriam, and Locksley Hall.
Discussion. 1. What do you find in the first three lines that tells you the flower was small and not firmly rooted? 2. Why does the poet make the insignificance of the flower so plain to us? 3. To whom is the poet talking? 4. What does his use of the words, "little flower," tell you of Tennyson's feeling for flowers? 5. What other poems have you read that show how birds and flowers speak to those who have learned to listen? 6. If Tennyson had known all he wanted to know about that little flower, he would have known what no mortal knows of the great mysteries of life and death. What did you learn on pages 23 and 24 about the belief ancient peoples had concerning the mysteries of life and the origin of flowers? 7. On page 24 it is stated that we “have won from Nature many of her secrets." Mention some of the “secrets” that men of science have recently learned. 8. What great secret does this poem tell us has never been discovered? 9. In “Literature and Life,” page 17, you read that there are poems of such enduring charm that men treasure them and “will not let them die”; why do you think that this little poem is one that men will always treasure? 10. Compare with this poem by Tennyson these lines from one of Wordsworth's great poems:
"To me the meanest flower that blows can give
Spring came to the settlers on Sun Prairie with a wonderful message, like a pardon to imprisoned people. For five months they had been shut closely within their cabins. Nothing could
be sweeter than the joy they felt when the mild south wind 5 began to blow and the snow began to sink away, leaving warm,
brown patches of earth in the snowy fields. It seemed that the sun god had not forsaken them, after all.
The first island to appear in the midst of the ocean of slush and mud around the Stewart house was the chip pile; and there 10 the spring work began. As soon as the slush began to gather,
Jack, the hired man, was set to work each morning, digging ditches and chopping canals in the ice so that the barn would not be inundated by the spring rains. During the middle of the day he busied himself at sawing and splitting the pile of logs
*See Silent and Oral Reading, page 11.
which Mr. Stewart had been hauling during the open days of winter.
Jack came from far lands, and possessed, as Lincoln soon discovered, unusual powers of dancing and playing the fiddle. 5 He brought, also, stirring stories of distant forests, strange people, and many battles; and Lincoln, who had an eye for character, set himself to work to distinguish between what the hired man knew, what he thought he knew, and what he merely lied about.
There was plenty of work for the boys. They had cows to milk and the drains to keep open. It was their business also to pile the wood behind the men as they sawed and split the large logs into short lengths. They used a crosscut saw, which
made pleasant music in the still, warm air of springtime. After15 wards these pieces, split into small sticks ready for the stove,
were thrown into a conical heap, which it was Lincoln's business to repile in shapely ricks.
Boys always insist upon having entertainment, even in their work, and Lincoln found amusement in planning a new ditch 20 and in seeing it remove the puddle before the barn door. There
was a certain pleasure also in piling wood neatly and rapidly, and in watching the deft and powerful swing of the shining axes, as they lifted and fell, and rose again in the hands of the
strong men. Then, too, the sap began to flow out of the maple 25 logs, and Lincoln and Owen wore their tongues to the quick,
licking the trickle from the rough wood. They also stripped out the inner bark of the elm logs and chewed it. It had a sweet, nut-like flavor, and was considered most excellent forage.
It was back-breaking work, piling wood, and the boys could 30 not have endured it had it not been for the companionship of the men and the hope they had of going skating at night.
Every hour of free time was improved by Lincoln and Rance and Milton, for they knew by experience how transitory the
skating season was. Early in the crisp spring air, when the 35 trees hung thick with frost, transforming the earth into fairy