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As on the jag of a mountain-crag,
I am the daughter of earth and water, Which an earthquake rocks and And the nursling of the sky; swings,
I pass through the pores of the ocean and An eagle, alit, one moment may sit,
75 In the light of its golden wings.
I change, but I cannot die. And when sunset may breathe, from the For after the rain, when, with never a stain, lit sea beneath,
The pavilion of heaven is bare, Its ardors of rest and love,
And the winds and sunbeams, with their And the crimson pall of eve may fall
convex gleams, From the depth of heaven above,
Build up the blue dome of air,
And out of the caverns of rain,
from the tomb, That orbéd Maiden, with white fire laden,
I rise and unbuild it again.
81. cenotaph, empty tomb (the blue dome of air).
NOTES AND QUESTIONS May have broken the woof of my tent's
1. What other poems by Shelley have you thin roof,
read? What does the first stanza of this poem The stars peep behind her, and peer! tell you that the cloud brings? And I laugh to see them whirl and flee, 2. What do the first two lines of the second Like a swarm of golden bees;
stanza tell? In the fourth stanza, to what is When I widen the rent in my wind-built
the leap of the sunrise on the cloud compared? tent,
What is the poet's idea of the cloud at sunset?
3. In his “Ode to the West Wind," Shelley Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,
says that the clouds are shaken like dead leaves Like strips of the sky fallen through me on
from the “tangled boughs of heaven and ocean"; high,
how does he describe the origin of the cloud in Are each paved with the moon and the last stanza of "The Cloud”? Which image these.
do you prefer? Show that Shelley expresses scientific truth about cloud formation under
the poetical imagery of the closing stanza. I bind the sun's throne with a burning zone, Explain the line “I change, but I cannot die."
And the moon's with a girdle of pearl; 4. This poem is remarkable for the beauty The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel of its imagery; point out the comparisons that and swim,
seem to you most beautiful. See how many When the whirlwinds my banner un
words indicating light and color you can find. furl.
Class Reading. Bring to class and read “My From cape to cape, with a bridge-like
Heart Leaps Up,” Wordsworth; "The Spacious shape,
Firmament,” Addison; "The Cloud,” Peabody. Over a torrent of sea, Sunbeam proof, I hang like a roof, The mountains its columns be.
HARK TO THE SHOUTING WIND* The triumphal arch through which I march
Hark to the flying Rain!
And I care not though I never see The sphere-fire above its soft colors wove, A bright blue sky again.
While the moist earth was laughing below.
*This selection from Timrod is reprinted from the Memorial Edition, through the courtesy of the holder of
the copyright, the Johnson Publishing Company, Richthese, the stars. zone, girdle.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS 1. What do you think was the inspiration for this poem, the use of trees or the beauty of trees? Why do you think so? Has the poet named any uses or purposes of trees which you might have omitted?
2. Let some good reader in the class read the poem aloud to bring out the beauty of the lines. Compare this poem with Joyce Kilmer's "Trees"'; which of the two poems do you like the better?
Class Reading. "Loveliest of Trees,” Housman; “Shade,"Garrison; “A Lady of the Snows," Monroe (all in The Melody of Earth, Richards).
Suggested Problems. Plan an Arbor Day program to be given by your class. Plan for your class to take trips to parks or woods near by for the purpose of noting down and learning the characteristics of the different trees. Learn to know all the various kinds of trees in your neighborhood.
In the Garden of Eden, planted by God, There were goodly trees in the springing
LILACS AMY LOWELL
Writing inventories in ledgers, reading the
“Song of Solomon” at night, So many verses before bedtime, Because it was the Bible.
40 The dead fed you Amid the slant stones of graveyards. Pale ghosts who planted you Came in the night-time And let their thin hair blow through your clustered stems.
45 You are of the green sea, And of the stone hills which reach a long
distance. You are of elm-shaded streets with little
shops where they sell kites and
marbles. You are of great parks where everyone
walks and nobody is at home. You cover the blind sides of greenhouses, 50 And lean over the top to say a hurry-word
through the glass To your friends, the grapes, inside.
and sing Their little weak soft songs; In the crooks of your branches The bright eyes of song sparrows sitting on
spotted eggs Peer restlessly through the light and
shadow Of all Springs. Lilacs in dooryards Holding quiet conversations with an early
moon; Lilacs watching a deserted house Settling sideways into the grass of an old
road; Lilacs, wind-beaten, staggering under a
lopsided shock of bloom Above a cellar dug into a hill, You are everywhere. You were everywhere. You tapped the window when the preacher
preached his sermon, And ran along the road beside the boy
. going to school. You stood by pasture-bars to give the cows
good milking; You persuaded the housewife that her
dishpan was of silver, And her husband an image of pure gold. You flaunted the fragrance of your blos
spectacles, Making poetry out of a bit of moonlight And a hundred or two sharp blossoms.
Through the wide doors of Customhouses-
behind the propped-up ledgers, Paradoxical New England clerks, 38. Paradoxical, contrary to the New England nature.
Maine knows you,
58. Eastern. The lilac is thought to have had its origin in the Orient. 60. Pasha, officer of high rank in Turkey.
You are brighter than apples,
these beauties of spring? In the last stanza Sweeter than tulips,
how does the poet express her own feeling for You are the great flood of our souls
the lilac? Bursting above the leaf-shapes of our
4. The poet, at the beginning of each stanza, hearts;
names four colors of lilacs; have you noticed
all four? What do you think is meant by “false You are the smell of all Summers,
blue"? Find as many other instances as you The love of wives and children,
can in which the poet has seen more accurately The recollection of the gardens of little and describes more exactly than most people children;
do. Has this poem opened your eyes to any You are State Houses and Charters
details of beauty that you had not noticed And the familiar treading of the foot to and
before? fro on a road it knows.
5. Can you tell what it is that makes the
lines of "Lilacs" flow with such an easy rhythm, May is lilac here in New England;
even though this rhythm is not regular in its May is thrush singing “Sun up!” on a
accent? What is the effect of the very short tip-top ash-tree;
lines? Do you like this "vers libre," or "free May is white clouds behind pine-trees
verse,” as well as you like poetry with regular Puffed out and marching upon a blue sky. rhythm and rime? May is a green as no other;
Library Reading. “A Tulip Garden” and May is much sun through small leaves;
“July Midnight,” Lowell (in The Melody of May is soft earth,
THE FURROW AND THE HEARTH* From Canada to Naragansett Bay.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS 1. What setting does the poet give the lilacs in the first stanza? In what kinds of places do the lilacs grow? What is their effect upon the Custom House clerks? Have you ever been affected in the same way?
Give to darkness and sleep,
2. Beginning with line 46 how does the poem tell that lilacs are of all times and all places? Why is this more interesting than to say merely "Lilacs are everywhere"?
3. How does the poet describe the month of May? What part does the lilac play in
*From Wild Earth and Other Poems, by Padraic Colum. Used by special arrangement with The Macmillan Company,
he build it? Explain the meaning of the last stanza. This is a poem of Nature; what else is it?
Library Reading. “The Plougher," Colum (in Wild Earth and Other Poems); “Earth," Wheelock (in New Voices); “Transformations," Hardy (in New Voices); "Nature's Friend,” Davies (in New Voices); “The Last Days,” Sterling (in New Voices); “The Pasture,” Frost (in The Melody of Earth).
ON THE GREAT PLATEAU
Above where the wild duck
There are boughs in the forest To pluck young and green; O'er them thatch of the crop Shall be heavy and clean.
In the Santa Clara Valley, far away and
far away, Cool-breathed waters dip and dally, linger
toward another dayFar and far
away. Slow their floating step, but tireless, ter
raced down the Great Plateau, Toward our ways of steam and wireless,
silver-paced the brook-beds go. Past the ladder-walled pueblos, past the
orchards, pear and quince, Where the black-locked river's ebb flows,
miles and miles the valley glints, Shining backward, singing downward,
toward horizons blue and bay. All the roofs the roads ensconce so dream
of visions far awaySanta Cruz and Ildefonso, Santa Clara,
Santa Fe. Ancient, sacred fears and faiths, ancient,
sacred faiths and fearsSome were real, some were wraiths
Indian, Franciscan years, Built the kivas, swung the bells; while
the wind sang plain and free, "Turn your eyes from visioned hells!
look as far as you can see!" In the Santa Clara Valley, far away and
far away, Dying dreams divide and dally, crystal
terraced waters sallyLinger toward another day, far and far
NOTES AND QUESTIONS 1. Who is addressed in the first stanza? Have you ever seen the sower at work, “scattering” the seeds and “mouthing great rhythms"? What pictures do the first four lines give you? The next four? What are the most joyous lines in the poem?
2. The poet says there is clay for anyone who wishes to build up his house; how high may
1. Santa Clara, etc. The proper names are mostly of places in New Mexico, to be found by reference to an atlas. 6. ladder-walled, access to many of the pueblo houses can be had only by a trap door in the roof and a ladder. 12. Franciscan, pertaining to the Franciscan monks, who in the early days of our country labored among the western Indians. 13. kiva, a room in a Pueblo village, used for religious ceremonies.