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NOTES AND QUESTIONS
For Biography, see page 53.
Discussion. 1. Who is represented as talking in this poem? 2. Read a line from the first stanza which tells the purpose and aim of the river. 3. Read a line from the last stanza which tells why the river holds to this purpose. 4. What temptations to loiter does the second stanza mention? The third ? The fourth? 5. Read lines from the last stanza which show that the river was not turned aside from its duty by anything it met. 6. Read the lines which show that the river expected to give itself in service to others when it reached the plain. Does the power to serve others seem to you a fitting reward for a self-denying life? 7. How well do you think the poet must have known this river before he understood its song? Would it be possible for you to understand the song of a river even though you could not tell it to others? 8. Do you feel that the poet is drawing a parallel between the Chattahoochee and life? Which method do you preferto let the reader make his own application to life as in this poem, or to have the poet make it for him as in Bryant's "To a Waterfowl?” 9. If the poet, in the second stanza, may have had in mind the small delights that make for contentment in life, what may he have had in mind in the third stanza? In the fourth? 10. Find examples of alliteration—that is, the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of two or more words in close succession. 11. Read the third and eighth lines of the first stanza. What do you notice in the structure of these lines? 12. Find other lines in the poem which have the same rime-scheme. 13. Library reading: "Little Rivers,” Henry van Dyke. Listen while a good reader reads Tennyson's “The Brook” in class. 14. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: thrall; laving; manifold; avail.
Phrases or narrow or wide, 84, 6
I am fain, 85, 28 flee from folly, 84, 7
mortally yearn, 85, 32 wrought me her shadowy self, 85, 10
THE BUGLE SONG
ALFRED, LORD TENNYSON
The splendor falls on castle walls
And snowy summits, old in story;
And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
O hark! O hear! how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!
The horns of Elfland, faintly blowing!
O love, they die in yon rich sky;
They faint on hill or field or river.
And grow forever and forever.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography. Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) was one of the greatest Eng. lish poets. At eight years of age he wrote verses and at fourteen a drama in blank verse. While a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, 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.
While the poet Tennyson was enjoying a gorgeous sunset in the beautiful Killarney country in Ireland he heard a boatman's bugle. This incident furnished the inspiration for this poem. The beautiful picture with which the poem opens is a description of the scene before him.
Discussion. 1. Find the two lines in the last stanza that express the heart of the poem. 2. The echoes of the bugle die; what becomes of the echoes of our words and actions? 3. What lines in Lowell's poem “Yussouf” (page 417) express the same thought? 4. Can you give an illustration from your school experience of the idea that high behavior is contagious? How about selfish conduct? What opinion does Roosevelt express on this point in “The Heritage of Noble Lives" (page 387)? 5. Notice that the first stanza describes a beautiful setting for the blowing of the bugle; the second stanza is a poetic description of the echoes of the bugle; and the third is the poet's interpretation of the echoes, which he expresses to one whom he loves and who perhaps is with him at the moment. 6. Does the poet succeed in making you see a beautiful picture in the first four lines of the poem? 7. To what does the poet compare the echoes in the second stanza ? 8. What words in the poem are particularly expressive? 9. Notice how the choice of words, the varied and interesting rimes, and the alliteration all contribute to the music of the poem. 10. Why is this poem called a lyric? Have you heard a phonograph record of it? 11. It is interesting to notice that the late poet, Rupert Brooke, in “Pine Trees and the Sky,” Bryant in “To a Waterfowl," and Tennyson in this poem follow the same plan-first stating a fact and then following with an interpretation of it, beautifully expressed. 12. You will enjoy listening to a good reader in your class who is able to bring out the beauty of the imagery, the music of the lyric, ani the contrast between “our echoes” and those of the bugle. 13. Memorize the poem. In memorizing a selection, become familiar first with the thought, then with the words. Saying the lines aloud and writing them—thus appealing to both ear and eye-help to fix them in memory. Memorize lines, not singly, but in groups, each representing a unit of thought.
EDGAR ALLAN POE
Hear the sledges with the tells
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
In a sort of Runic rime,
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
Hear the mellow wedding-bells
Through the balmy air of night
And all in tune,
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells-
Bells, bells, bells—
Hear the loud alarum bells
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Out of tune,
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
And a resolute endeavor,
What a horror they outpour
By the twanging
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows;
In the jangling
And the wrangling,
Of the bells