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QUESTIONS FOR STUDY

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How does Ruskin divide books ? (Lines 1-5.)

Name some books that you would call “books of the hour"; some that you would call “books of all time.” (Lines 1-9.)

Discuss them, with reasons for your selection. What is the good book of the hour ? (Lines 10–22.) What is the essential of a book? (Lines 40–68.)

Does the author of a truly great book write for money only ?

Why does he write? (Lines 51–54.)
How will he say it? (Lines 54–56.)

Why does Ruskin urge the reading of great books? (Lines 69–96.)

Name any great books that you have read. Discuss them. Which do you regard the greatest?. What did you get from it? Did it inspire you with great thoughts or aspirations ?

Did the reading make plain what you had vaguely thought or felt before, or did it give you wholly new ideas? (Lines 129–141.)

Did you feel that you were in great society while you were reading ? (Lines 80–90.)

What is the meaning of lines 146–163?

What is necessary before any one can really read great books? (Lines 97-145.)

RALPH WALDO EMERSON

(1803-1882)

A poet, a philosopher, and a man of letters, Emerson represents a type rarely found in this or any

other country; a keen observer, a close student of human affairs, who, however, does not mingle intimately among men, but draws from his observations a broad and rich philosophy Emerson's gift was inspirational. He suggests SO many

ideas that the ordinary man is soon lost in following out the thoughts roused by him.

Lowell says of him, that “Emerson had the peculiarly masculine quality of fructifying other minds."

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Emerson was born in Boston, graduated at Harvard, was for a time a preacher, being the pastor of the Old South Church in Boston, but later retired from the ministry to devote his life to literature. He both lectured and wrote continuously until his death. Living in partial seclusion at Concord, Massachusetts, he yet has exerted an influence upon American thought, and to a degree upon the thought of all English speaking people, that cannot readily be measured.

THE HUMBLEBEE 1

The following poem shows that the sedate Emerson not only loved nature, but that he had also a sense of humor, and could give a whimsical touch to his writings.

5

Burly, dozing humblebee,
Where thou art is clime for me.
Let them sail for Porto Rique,
Far off heats through seas to seek;
I will follow thee alone,
Thou animated torrid zone!
Zigzag steerer, desert cheerer,
Let me chase thy waving lines;
Keep me nearer, me thy hearer,
Singing over shrubs and vines.
Insect lover of the sun,
Joy of thy dominion !

10

1 Humblebee, more commonly called bumblebee.

15

Sailor of the atmosphere;
Swimmer through the waves of air;
Voyager of light and noon;
Epicurean 1 of June;
Wait, I prithee, till I come
Within earshot of thy hum,
All without is martyrdom.

20

25

When the south wind, in May days,
With a net of shining haze
Silvers the horizon wall,
And, with softness touching all,
Tints the human countenance
With a color of romance,
And infusing subtle heats,
Turns the sod to violets,
Thou, in sunny solitudes,
Rover of the underwoods,
The green silence dost displace
With thy mellow, breezy bass.

30

Hot midsummer's petted crone,
Sweet to me thy drowsy tone
Tells of countless sunny hours,
Long days, and solid banks of flowers;
Of gulfs of sweetness without bound,
In Indian wildernesses found;

35

1 Epicurean, follower of an ancient philosophy advocating joy as the aim of life.

Of Syrian peace, immortal leisure,
Firmest cheer, and bird-like pleasure.

40

45

Aught unsavory or unclean
Hath my insect never seen;
But violets and bilberry bells,
Maple-sap and daffodels,
Grass with green flag half-mast high,
Succory to match the sky,
Columbine with horn of honey,
Scented fern, and agrimony,
Clover, catchfly, adder's tongue,
And brier-roses, dwelt among;
All beside was unknown waste,
All was picture as he passed.

50

55

Wiser far than human seer,
Yellow breeched philosopher!
Seeing only what is fair,
Sipping only what is sweet,
Thou dost mock at fate and care,
Leave the chaff, and take the wheat.
When the fierce northwestern blast
Cools sea and land so far and fast,
Thou already slumberest deep;
Woe and want thou canst outsleep;
Want and woe, which torture us,
Thy sleep makes ridiculous.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON.

60

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