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Didst weave this verdant roof. Thou didst look down 25
Fit shrine for humble worshiper to hold
No fantastic carvings show
The fresh moist ground, are all instinct with thee.
That delicate forest flower,
My heart is awed within me when I think
How on the faltering footsteps of decay
There have been holy men who hid themselves
Upon the continent, and overwhelms
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
I. GENERAL EXERCISES
1. How does the title of this poem indicate the character of the thought in the poem ? What is the great truth, or philosophic thought, in the poem? What is the “moral” of the poem? What lines give the statement of the moral thought? Do they seem to you as poetic as the last stanza of “ The Chambered Nautilus”?
2. How many divisions has the poem? State the principal thought of each section.
3. Why has the poem no story? Is there any personal element in the poem, aside from the feeling of the author himself? Is this
poem as interesting to you as “ The Ancient Mariner” or “ Michael”? Is it as impressive? “If so, what makes it so ?
4. What has this poem added to your thoughts of the relation of man to Nature and to God?
5. Is there very much description in the poem? Are there many figurative expressions? What is the general character, or mood, of the poem ?
II. SPECIAL EXERCISES
1. Give an illustration of the truth of this line. 1-5. What work of man is suggested by these lines? 2. What is meant here by
6 shaft” ? architravc. The first statement (lines 1–3) refers to what style of architecture ? ditto, the second statement (lines 3–5) ? 8. supplication. What is the main statement in this second sentence? Why man's simple” heart? 9. What is the force of the word “ influence”? 10. Note the poetic word “stilly”; are such words still considered good usage in poetry? Make a list of similar words in this poem.
Does twilight” have its usual meaning here? 13. What was “the invisible breath”? Of what is it a symbol ? 14. What is the subject of “stole ”? 16. inaccessible ; majesty. Be careful in reading this sentence to have the whole thought in mind, so that you may be able to express with your voice the relation of the different clauses and phrases to the main thought of the sentence and to each other. 17. What is meant by “ the world's riper years ” ? 18. sanctuaries. How do people adore " among the crowd”? 20. What contrast is suggested by the word “frail” ? 21. What fine distinction of thought is expressed by the word “shadow”? What is the relation of this last sentence to the preceding question ? to the first sentence ?
24. What are meant by “venerable columns ”? What contrast is implied ? 25. In what sense did God weave the “ verdant roof”? 26. Read Genesis i. 9–12. 29. Is “shot” an appropriate word? 33. shrine.
Communion,' compare the opening lines of Bryant's “ Thanatopsis.” What are the “dim vaults” and “winding aisles”? 35. pomp. Where do we find human pomp and pride in connection with worship? 36. fantastic. 37. vain. How does man change the form of Nature's works? Should he do so
- or not? 38. Explain “ Thou fill’st the solitude.” 44. What part of speech is “instinct”? How pronounced ? Meaning? In what sense are the trees and the ground instinct with God? 45. Where is there not " continual worship”? Why not? May there be continual worship in all places and at all times? 46. tranquillity. 47. What relationship between God and Nature is implied by the word “enjoys”? What do you think of this sentiment? 50. Wells ; steeps. 51. What is the lesson for mankind in the thought, “ tells no tale of all the good it does”? 57. annihilated. 60. coronal. 57–61. Why is the old world“ proud”? 63. With what is the flower in contrast ? 64. Explain the figure here. 65. What is the “shapeless mold”? What expressions are the complement of “seems”? 66. Why is “Life” written with a capital letter ? 67. What is “ the upholding Love”?