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Could we be conscious of the “indwelling Life” and the “ upholding Love,” if there were no visible manifestation of thein ?
70. What “great miracle” is meant ? May we see it at any time? Does the fact that it is so common prevent our appreciation of it? How does this thought connect this part of the poem with the preceding part? 72. In what sense is the work of creation finished”? How is it forever “renewed "? 74. How can we read the lesson of God's eternity, both past and future, in His works ? 75–78. Notice the hopeful tone of the contrast; express this in your reading. 76. Explain “footsteps of decay.” 79. Supply words before “that” to make the meaning clearer. 82. untold. 83. Express the thought in this sentence in your own words. 84. What is the force of “yet”? of “shall”? of “idle”? 85. How are “Life” and “ Death ” thought of? How are they often represented in pictures? arch-enemy. 88. How does Life derive nourishment from Death's “ triumphs”? 89. In what sense is it true that life has no end?
90. What class of “holy men” is meant? 95. What class or classes of "holy men ” do we think of now? 96. What did they think the best way of living ? 99. Was Bryant a man of evil habits, or of weak nature? If not, why does he speak of his virtue as “ feeble”? What are the enemies of virtue? Is it possible for a man to fortify himself against the enemies of virtue without spiritual help from a higher source than himself? 100. Are the “ footsteps” of God “plainer” in the forest than in society? Are they more powerful or wonderful? 103. thunderbolts. 107–109. What natural phenomenon is referred to? 118. Why does man need to “ learn” to do this ? Compare the closing lines of " Thanatopsis ":
“So live, that when thy summons comes to join
“Nature's Lovers.” Nature, in some form or other, is more or less observed by all people; give in detail and with comments, the thoughts of different people — the savage, the farmer, the scientist, the tourist, the painter, the poet.
“ Nature's Power.” How it is manifested, its effects upon people, give details and illustrate by personal experience the lessons Nature teaches man.
“Worship, Ancient and Modern.” Describe an imaginary scene of some early people worshiping in groves, and then an account of grand services in some great church or cathedral. Conclusion.
A PSALM OF LIFE
TELL me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream !
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real ! Life is earnest !
And the grave is not its goal ; Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way ; But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave, Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.
In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be a hero in the strife !
Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant !
Let the dead Past bury its dead ! Act--act in the living Present !
Heart within and God o'erhead !
1. What was a “psalm ” among the ancient IIebrews? In what respects is this poem a psalm ? Give a full explanation of the phrase 6 of Life" as used in this title.
2. Is there any one prevailing thought running through this poem ? If so, state it in your own words; if not, what is the character of the subject-matter of the poem ?
3. State in your own words the central thought in each stanza. (The chief purpose of the detailed study of the stanzas which follows is to enable us to see and feel how the poetic expression of these thoughts is better than the plain statement of them.)
4. Does this poem treat of human life? Does it contain any story? Do
you consider it more poetic than “ The Ancient Mariner,” or less ? Can the two poems be judged by exactly the same standards? Should every work of art be judged by its own merits, or demerits, or both ; or should certain fixed standards determine the value of a poem or other literary work?
INTROD. LESS. IN ENG. LIT.
II. SPECIAL EXERCISES.
1. What does “numbers” mean as used here? Who is meant by me”? 2. What are some of the ways in which life sometimes seems to be like a dream? What is the force of the adjective “empty”? Who would be likely to express this sentiment regarding life ? 3. Is the body dead during sleep? What is the state or condition of the mind during sleep? What is your idea of a “soul that slumbers"? In what sense can a soul be “dead”? 4. What is the most emphatic word in this line? If things “ are not what they seem,” what are they?
5. “real” is the opposite of what thought in the first stanza ? 6. What comparison is suggested by the word “goal”? Before reading this line aloud, determine exactly what meaning is intended, and then read the line so as to express your meaning; those who have a different idea of the meaning of the line, will read it differently. Do not read in a “singsong” tone as if you were scanning the lines; but do not go to the opposite extreme and try to read poetry as if it were prose. Have clearly in mind the thought you wish to express, and your reading cannot be otherwise than good; the musical rhythm of poetry will take care of itself. 7. See Genesis iii. 19. 8. Of what was the thought in line 7 spoken? How should this line, then, be read ?
9. Compare the expression in the Declaration of Independence, “life, liberty, and the “pursuit' of happiness"; and also the old proverb, “There is more pleasure in pursuit than in possession.” What people think that “sorrow" is all life has in store for them? 10. Show that this implies that some superior force outside of ourselves determines our willing of what we shall do, and guides each individual life. What is the distinction in thought between “end” and “way”? 11. Give illustrations from your experience or observation to show that activity produces pleasure, and lessens sorrow. 12. “farther" – in what respect? What is to be understood after “to-day”?
13. What kind of “ Art" did the poet mean? What attitudes do people take toward this fact of life? 15. In what respects are our hearts “like muffled drums”? 16. Compare the figure in “funeral marches” with the one in line 6. What is the relation of this stanza to the preceding one ?
17–18. Contrast a “field of battle” and a “bivouac.” What phase of life does each represent? 19. What people are like dumb, driven