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Much of Browning's poetry is difficult reading. He condenses a great deal of thought into one phrase or word and leaves much to the imagination of the reader. His short poems are comparatively simple and melodious.

Discussion. 1. Browning wrote this poem while in Italy; read the lines that show his longing for England. 2. What word gives the idea that spring comes suddenly in England? 3. What are the signs that the poet associates especially with early spring? 4. Commit to memory the lovely description of the thrush's song. 5. Notice the beautiful setting given to the thrush; which words add especially to the beauty of the picture? 6. How will “noon-tide wake anew the buttercups"? 7. Tell why buttercups are "the little children's dower.” 8. To what flower in Italy is the buttercup compared? 9. Describe in a few lines what you love best in the springtime in your home. 10. Contest: Who can read the entire poem most effectively? 11. Class reading: “Go Down to Kew in Lilac-time,” Alfred Noyes (from "The Barrel-Organ" in Poems); “Een Napoli,” Thomas Augustus Daly (in High Tide); "Apple Blossoms," William Wesley Martin (in The Elson Readers, Book Six). Compare these poems with “Home-Thoughts from Abroad.” 12. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: bole; rapture; dower. 13. Pronounce: elm-tree; chaffinch; dew; gaudy.

A VAGABOND SONG

BLISS CARMAN

There is something in the Autumn that is native to my blood-
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rime,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

8 The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry

Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gipsy blood astir; 10 We must rise and follow her,

When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

J.H.L. 2-4

NOTES AND QUESTIONS

Biography. Bliss Carman (1861–) was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick. After he was graduated from New Brunswick University, he studied at Harvard and the University of Edinburgh. Like many other poets, he began his career with journalistic work. He was editor of the Independent and later of the Chap-Book. Most of his time has been devoted to poetry, and he has published many books. His first volume was Low Tide on Grand Pré. Among his later works are Echoes from Vagabondia and April Airs. His poetry shows a remarkable gift in lyric verse and great love and appreciation of nature.

Discussion. 1. To what does the poet say his heart keeps time? 2. Where does he see these colors? 3. How does the color of the maples affect him? 4. What connection do you see between scarlet and the sound of bugles? 5. What color were the asters that appeared like smoke? 6. What connection do you see between this appearance of smoke and the thought of a camp? 7. Whom does the poet say he must follow? 8. What gives the appearance of flame to the hills? 9. What two words used in the third stanza bear out the thought of a camp? 10. Library reading: "Indian Summer," Sara Teasdale (in Rivers to the Sea).

"FROST TONIGHT”

EDITH M. THOMAS

Apple-green west and an orange bar,
And the crystal eye of a lone, one star
And, “Child, take the shears and cut what you will;
Frost tonight—so clear and dead-still."

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Then I sally forth, half sad, half proud,
And I come to the velvet, imperial crowd,
The wine-red, the gold, the crimson, the pied,
The dahlias that reign by the garden-side.

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The dahlias I might not touch till tonight!
A gleam of the shears in the fading light,
And I gathered them all—the splendid throng-
And in one great sheaf I bore them along.

In my garden of Life with its all-late flowers
I heed a Voice in the shrinking hours:
"Frost tonight-so clear and dead-still ..."
Half sad, half proud, my arms I fill.

NOTES AND QUESTIONS

Biography. Edith Matilda Thomas (1854–) was born in Chatham, Ohio, and educated at the State Normal Institute. She was a contributor to local newspapers for some time before the publication of her first book, A New Year's Masque, which at once gave her a place among America's poets. Other volumes of poems followed this. The Inverted Torch, In Sunshine Land, and A Winter Swallow are among the best-known volumes.

Discussion. 1. Whose is the voice that speaks in the first stanza ? 2. Why had the dahlias not been cut before? 3. Why was it time to cut them? 4. How did the child feel when told to cut the flowers? Can you explain her feeling? 5. The author compares life to a garden; what things in life may be called its flowers? 6. What Voice speaks in the last stanza? 7. What is the frost that comes to the garden of life? 8. Plan a division of your class into groups or teams, each having three or four members. Each

prepare

from selections found or suggested in this book a program for Arbor and Bird Day (Spring or Autumn), the program to be reported in class. Select the three best programs.

group will

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*From Poems of Sidney Lanier, copyright, 1884, 1891, by Mary D. Lanier; published by Charles Scribner's Sons.

The ferns and the fondling grass said, "Stay";
The dewberry dipped for to work delay;
And the little reeds sighed, “Abide, abide,”

Here in the hills of Habersham,
Here in the valleys of Hall.

10

High o'er the hills of Habersham,

Veiling the valleys of Hall,
The hickory told me manifold
Fair tales of shade; the poplar tall
Wrought me her shadowy self to hold;
The chestnut, the oak, the walnut, the pine,
Overleaning, with flickering meaning and sign,
Said: "Pass not so cold, these manifold

Deep shades of the hills of Habersham,
These glades in the valleys of Hall."

16

20

And oft in the hills of Habersham,

And oft in the valleys of Hall,
The white quartz shone, and the smooth brook stone
Did bar me of passage with friendly brawl;
And many a luminous jewel lone
(Crystals clear or a-cloud with mist,
Ruby, garnet, or amethyst)
Made lures with the lights of streaming stone

In the clefts of the hills of Habersham,
In the beds of the valleys of Hall.

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But oh! not the hills of Habersham,

And oh! not the valleys of Hall
Avail; I am fain for to water the plain.
Downward the voices of Duty call;
Downward to toil and be mixed with the main.
The dry fields burn and the mills are to turn,
And a myriad flowers mortally yearn,
And the lordly main from beyond the plain

Calls o'er the hills of Habersham,
Calls through the valleys of Hall.

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