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PART IV

THE WORLD IN WHICH WE LIVE

All are needed by each one,
Nothing is fair or good alone.
I thought the sparrow's note from Heaven,
Singing at dawn on the alder bough;
I brought him home in his nest at even-
He sings the song, but it pleases not now;
For I did not bring home the river and sky;
He sang to my ear; they sang to my eye.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson.

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life itself, must be drawn upon for the Read the lines written by Ralph Waldo complete training to which Emerson refers.

. Emerson on the page facing 512. They are Thus, you study history as another means printed in a different type from that of the of knowing what he calls the Mind of the text of the book in order to show you that Past; you study botany and geography they are a key to the study of Part IV. and physics as another means of knowing What does the poet mean by saying, “All the World of Nature, while the world of are needed by each one"? What illustra- action can never be studied merely in tion does he give? Has Nature any part books. in the idea of brotherhood that the poem In this last section of the book you will tells about?

find some of the things that literature has In a celebrated address, Emerson once to say about the world in which we live. said that the mind of man is formed, or Some of the selections are poems which educated, by three forces: the Mind of express the joy that springs in the heart the Past; Action; and the World of when one looks on the flowers or the Nature. By the mind of the past he trees or the ocean or any other of the meant the records in history and literature thousand forms that clothe the world in of what men have done, the story of the beauty. You do not read these poems in progress of civilization. By action he order to gain scientific knowledge. If you meant man's relations to his fellows, not want information about seaweed or the business relations alone, or a man's career, ocean you will go to a scientific textbook, but all that brings him into contact with not to Longfellow's poems. But the joy life in his own time. The World of Nature of the spring is expressed in such poems is important to us because we live in this as those by Wordsworth and Noyes; the world. It is our city. We need to know noble conception of the earth as the tomb how to find our way about in it, just as of man is in Bryant's “Thanatopsis”; the we need to know how to find our way about mystery and magic of the sea, even the in the city which we visit or in which we motion of the waves, you find in the poems live. To know this World of Nature by Longfellow and Byron; the clouds, the means to enjoy its beauty, to understand winds, the marvel of a day in June-all its laws, and to make use of it through the ways in which Nature brings a message power that science has given to us.

of beauty to our lives—are put into words You will observe that this book is an for us by the poets. introduction to each of these three sources A second way in which we may get of education. You can easily name selec- acquainted with the world in which we tions in this book that have a bearing live is illustrated by the group of selections upon each of these sources of education. which begins on page 533 with the essay One of the uses of literature is that it has called “The Wonders of the World," by this direct application to life. It is only Sir John Lubbock. This essay is the work an introduction; the subjects studied in of a scientist, not a poet. He was inschool and college, and the experience of terested in studying Nature itself, not in

a

man,

giving lyrical expression to the emotions

II inspired by Nature. Yet like the poet he

Now that you are about to begin the approaches the subject with a sense of its

reading of this last section of our book on beauty and wonder. In the stories that

Literature and Life, it will be an advanfollow, about the ants, the tortoise, the

tage if you will recall some of the stories coral reefs, the falling star, you have

and poems that you have read in the other illustrations of the pleasure as well as

earlier parts of the book in order to see the knowledge that comes from the exact

how largely they, too, draw upon the observation of Nature. Once more, these

world of Nature. In the “Rime of the selections form only an introduction to

Ancient Mariner,” for example, you will the subject. You will find that the books

now see not merely a ballad, or a legend from which they are taken are filled with

told in verse, but an illustration of that stories just as interesting. What is more,

"all-sustaining beauty" that Lowell speaks when you study geography or botany or

about in his “Vision of Sir Launfal.” The astronomy, or any other science, you are

Mariner, you will remember, could not yourself engaged in making the same kind

pray until his hate had turned to love. of observations. The appeal of Nature

As soon as Nature had taught him this lesto the feelings and imagination may be

son of love the spell was broken and he found by anyone who will open his eyes. The last four selections introduce you

could pray. Bryant expresses the same

thought in “Thanatopsis"to the World of Nature in a different way. Here the theme is the way in which Na

To him who in the love of Nature holds ture aids and serves

The great

Communion with her visible forms, she speaks

A various language. fields of cotton or hemp or wheat, the giant industries that man has built up to make Finally, throughout the book we see life happier and safer—all these are re- how literature, whatever its form or time, sults of man's mastery of Nature and rep- is the interpretation of beauty. Beauty of resent forces that he has learned to use. the heroic deed, revealed in ballad and The story is filled with beauty, like the epic; beauty of the life of the cottager others. This is the service of literature and of all wholesome human relations; always: to show the beauty and the good beauty of the June day and of the delicate that are in Nature and in human life.

patterns traced by the frost; the beauty There is beauty in the waving fields of of the coral and the falling star, of the grain, in the blast furnaces with their fields of hemp, of the surge of industryflames that shoot against the sky at all these themes are one. It is because night, in the express train, in the great literature in all its varied forms has been ship moving slowly down the bay. And in all ages and is forever to be an expresin the last selection, written expressly for sion of this book, you have a summary of much

That thread of the all-sustaining Beauty that the book contains. It is a comment

Which runs through all and doth all unite, in prose upon Emerson's lines that you read on page 513. It shows how our that it ministers to the mind and heart present life springs out of what men have

It is an introduction to all your thought and done in the past; it tells of studies. It is a world of adventure that the coöperation of men, of the world of gives zest to living. It is not something action in which men work with one another; apart, a means of filling vacant hours, but and it shows how Nature serves men and the expression, in terms of beauty, of the contributes to their happiness.

of man.

meaning of life.

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Through primrose tufts, in that green

bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

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The birds around me hopped and played-
Their thoughts I cannot measure-
But the least motion which they made 15
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

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The budding twigs spread out their fan
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

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If this belief from Heaven be sent,
If such be Nature's holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

But the call that you hear this day, my

lad, Is the Spring's old bugle of mirth, When the year's green fire in a soul's

desire Is brought like a rose to the birth; And knights ride out to adventure

As the flowers break out of the earth. Over the sweet-smelling mountain-passes

The clouds lie brightly curled; The wild-flowers cling to the crags and

swing
With cataract-dews impearled;
And the way,

the
way, that

you

choose this day Is the way to the end of the world. It rolls from the golden long ago

To the land that we ne'er shall find;
And it's uphill here, but it's downhill there,

For the road is wise and kind,
And all rough places and cheerless faces

Will soon be left behind.
Come, choose your road and away, away!

We'll follow the gypsy sun; For it's soon, too soon, to the end of the

day, And the day is well begun; And the road rolls on through the heart of

the May, And there's never a May but one. *Reprinted by permission from Collected Poems, Vol. II, by Alfred Noyes. Copyright 1913 by Frederick A. Stokes Company.

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NOTES AND QUESTIONS 1. Wordsworth says that he composed this poem while sitting by the side of a brook, enjoying a beautiful scene in Nature; imagine the scene that inspired this poem and describe your picture. What details for your picture does the poem give you?

2. What thought grieved the poet as he viewed the scene? How would you answer the question the poet asks in the last stanza? What is Nature's message to us, about which you read on page 516?

Library Reading. Bring to class and read a poem on spring from a recent magazine; or one of the following: “Spring Song,” Carman; “Spring Song in the City,” Buchanan; “A Vagabond Song,” Carman; “Home Thoughts from Abroad,” Browning.

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