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“ The Finding of the Shell.” Imagine a man walking by the seashore, describe the man's general appearance, clothing, face — why he was strolling on the beach, his thoughts as he walked, his habit of close observation — finding the shell, examining it, his knowledge of facts concerning the shell — his meditations, desire to express his thoughts in a beautiful way, writing the poem - the poem published, the benefit to the world arising from the seemingly unimportant incident of picking up a seashell.
“ Teddy's Resolve.” Tell how Teddy studied this poem, and how it influenced his thoughts in regard to what he ought to do in the world.
“ Never too Late to Mend.” In the first outline, given above, represent the man as a tramp who had wasted his opportunities, etc. - he finds an unbroken shell on the seashore, — his meditations lead him to a better life.
TO A WATERFOWL
WHITHER, midst falling dew,
Thy solitary way?
Vainly the fowler's eye
Thy figure floats along.
Seek'st thou the plashy brink
On the chafed ocean side ?
There is a Power whose care
Lone wandering, but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned,
Though the dark night is near.
And soon that toil shall end ;
Soon, o'er thy sheltered nest.
Thou’rt gone, the abyss of heaven
And shall not soon depart.
He who, from zone to zone, Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight, 30 In the long way that I must tread alone, Will lead my steps aright.
- WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
I. GENERAL EXERCISES 1. Read the whole poem. What was the thought or feeling that impelled the poet to write this poem ?
2. Form a mental picture of the poet, his surroundings, the season, the time of day, the state of the poet's mind, his attitude toward the bird, etc. Would any other person in the same situation have felt like expressing his thoughts in poetic form? What other things besides the poetic impulse are necessary in order to produce a good
3. Compare the last stanza of this poem with the last stanza of “ The Chambered Nautilus”; which do you like best? Give definite reasons for your preference.
4. How do the lines rhyme in this poem? How many accented syllables in the first and fourth lines ? in the second and third ?
5. Compare this poem and Bryant's “ Sella.” Name the respects in which they differ; in which they are alike.
II. SPECIAL EXERCISES 1. Why is “falling dew” a better expression for poetry than the scientific statement of the same fact? 2. What imagery is suggested by the word “steps”? 3. State as briefly as possible the main question in this stanza : keep this in mind when reading the stanza. Why does the author use the old forms “ dost thou,” etc.?
6. The word “mark " suggests what characteristic of a hunter? 7. “crimson sky” is like what expression in the first stanza? Why did the poet use different words here for the same thought? Bryant
first wrote “ darkly painted on ” instead of “darkly seen against”; which do you consider the better expression ? Why? 8. What is the poetic value of the word “floats”? 10. What do you understand “weedy lake” to mean? marge. 12. “ chafed” — how pronounced here? Why are “rocking” and “ chafed” good descriptive words? Why should the bird wish to seek any of the places mentioned in this stanza?
13. How does the word “care” suggest what the author meant by the word "Power"? 14. What is meant by “that pathless coast”? In what sense is it a “coast"? 15. What is the relation of this line to the preceding one? What part of speech is “desert” here? illimitable. 16. Why is the bird “not lost”? What is the implied thought in regard to human life?
18. Are the adjectives “cold, thin” true to fact? Why was the bird flying so high? 19. What the force of 6 welcome” here? How might the thought in this stanza be applied to human life? Is it better to make this application, or simply to take the plainer meaning of the stanza? 21. What “toil ” is meant ?
22. Why a summer home? Is “rest” a noun or a verb? 24. Can you suggest a better word than 6 sheltered "?
25. abyss. What are the poetic elements of the expression “the abyss of heaven hath swallowed up thy form”? 26–27. Compare my heart ... hast given” with “through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings.” How do the words “ heart” and “ thought indicate a difference of attitude of the two poets toward Nature ? 27. Where do we find definite expression of this “ lesson” ?
29. What is expressed by “from zone to zone”? 31. What does the author mean by “ the long way”? In what sense must he travel it alone?
COMPOSITIONS “ The Poet and the Bird.” Let this composition be an expression of thoughts suggested by your study of “ To a Waterfowl.” The poet was on his way to a city to begin the practice of law – to start in life. Describe the scene as you imagine it — the poet's thinking of his prospects, how he caught sight of the bird and watched it until it was lost in the distance, his meditations, the poem. Conclude with your opinion of the poem.
A FOREST HYMN
THE groves were God's first temples. Ere man
Father, thy hand Hath reared these venerable columns, thou