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The poem awakens in us a deep sense of gratitude to the men who so dearly paid for the liberty we now enjoy. The author has succeeded in conveying all the thrilling excitement and hazard of the battle and the terrible suspense of the watchers in the belfry. Note the effectiveness of introducing, as one of these watchers, the old Corporal, the crippled veteran of the French and Indian Wars.
Note the vividness of the following:
""Tis like stirring living embers." (1. 1.)
"To you the words are ashes, but to me they're burning coals." (1. 4.)
"And their lips were white with terror as they said, THE HOUR HAS COME !" (1. 36.)
"When a figure tall and stately round the rampart strode sedately." (1.39.)
"All through those hours of trial I had watched a calm clock
Note how well chosen is the metre of the poem to suggest the struggle and stress of the battle.
THE CHAMBERED NAUTILUS
A lesson of the true purpose of life, which is soul growth and character building. The poem bids us leave our "low-vaulted past," and advance (by degrees, since all growth must be gradual) to higher and higher planes of thinking and living.
(a) Holmes's symbol of the soul is the "ship of pearl which, poets feign, sails the unshadowed main." It is wrecked and "every chambered cell lies revealed," showing that as the "spiral grew, he left the past year's dwelling for the new," "built up its idle door," and "knew the old no more." (b) The call to spiritual progress is given in the last stanza "Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul."
The general fitness and the beauty of the symbol are obvious. Note the exquisite charm of the language.
Memorize the poem.
What do you know of the chambered nautilus to prove the appropriateness of the following expressions:
"Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl"; "irised ceiling"; "lustrous coil"; "spiral grew."
What other passages illustrate the characteristics of the nautilus?
Explain the allusions in "Siren sings"; sea maids"; "Than ever Triton blew from wreathed horn."
As is well known, this was written as a protest against the proposed breaking up of the frigate Constitution. It may well stand as an indictment of the ingratitude of the present generation toward the labors and sacrifices of their ancestors; of the modern lack of a "historic sense"; the modern spirit of irreverence, impatience, and iconoclasm toward what is old and traditional.
Indignant scorn is the keynote of the poem, struck in the opening line, "Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!" There follows a reminder, in glowing words, of the old ship's achievements, contrasted with her present helplessness and the proposed indignity to her. Yet if she must be got rid of, the author believes it is far more fitting to cast her adrift in the tempest than to desecrate her by human hands.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF WARNER
1. Give a brief review of the events of Warner's early life, noting especially the determination by which he secured a college education.
2. In what various ways did he qualify himself for his vocation as a man of letters?
3. Describe the circumstances of his becoming a newspaper editor.
4. What experiences did his books of travel and nature embody? Name these books.
5. To what field of literature did he next turn his attention, and what did he produce in it?
6. With what form of literature, however, is he most identified?
7. Name other proofs of Warner's literary industry. 8. Was Warner a literary man to the exclusion of all other interests?
HOW I KILLED A BEAR
To present a plain, matter-of-fact account of a Purpose. real adventure with a bear, as opposed to the extravagant tales usually told by the heroes of such adventures. In telling it, the author makes use of a frank and whimsical humor, which he does not hesitate to turn against himself, thus gaining the sympathy of his readers. The way the human mind really acts in moments of crisis, in distinction to our romantic ideas of how it should act, is cleverly described.
LOST IN THE WOODS
To present real life versus romance, as shown by the actual experience of being lost in the woods. The author writes a perfectly frank, unromantic account of his adventure, which is, however, as full of interest and suspense the most romantically conceived story, and it is, furthermore, enlivened by humor and by shrewd commentaries on the foibles of human nature. The author makes it plain that he is taking us fully into his confidence — not allowing his desire to "make a good story" stand between us and the facts of
his adventure. He humorously here, as in "How I Killed a Bear," reveals his journalistic calling, by showing his imagination busy with the construction of romantic fictions suggested by his experiences.
"The public don't want any more of this thing: it is played out," is a humorous thrust at the tendencies of popular tales of adventure.
Note the significance of these passages:
"What a satire upon my present condition was modern culture! "It seemed pitiful that society could do absolutely nothing for me. "I began to doubt the 'culture' that blunts the natural instincts." Read carefully and note the significance of the paragraph beginning, "Nature is so pitiless, so unresponsive." It is a very suggestive paragraph.
A FIGHT WITH A TROUT
In relating this experience, the author was acPurpose: tuated by motives similar to those which inspired the two sketches considered above. All three reveal a sane and humorous outlook on life, and, hence, scant sympathy with the exaggerated tendencies of the "adventure" school of story-telling.
In this, the author has given us a bright and interesting account of an episode in trout-fishing, showing his happy faculty of writing about nature, and his customary flashes of humorous irony, such as:
"Most of their adventures are thrilling, and all of them are, in narration, more or less unjust to the trout."
"No sportsman, however, will use anything but a fly, except he happens to be alone."
"No one devoted to high art would think of using a socket joint."
The writer who possesses the keen sense of Remarks. humor, and the happy method of expressing it, of Charles Dudley Warner has a powerful weapon with which to win a permanent place in literature. The author who can "laugh at himself" is not likely to be either tedious, egotistical, or ridiculous.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF EVERETT
1. Describe Everett's youthful and phenomenal start on his distinguished career.
2. Why did Everett give so marked an impulse to American scholarship upon his return from abroad?
3. Mention the leading events in his career from 1824 to 1854.
4. What practical share did Everett have in the purchase of Mt. Vernon? Does it not give a deeper effect to his address on the character of Washington?
5. Name other instances of his generous spirit.
6. What services did Everett render the Union cause during the Civil War?
7. What significant changes occurred in America during the period spanned by Everett's life?
8. State Everett's chief claims upon our admiration, and his greatest title to distinction.
THE CHARACTER OF WASHINGTON
1. Common sense, Washington's distinguishing quality; its relation to brilliancy.
2. Christian morality the source of his qualities of excellence. 3. Washington contrasted with great leaders in achievement, genius, and character.
(a) With Alexander the Great
(b) With Julius Cæsar
(c) With Napoleon
4. Blenheim Castle versus Mt. Vernon.
5. Our responsibilities.
6. Washington preëminent.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF LONGFELLOW
1. When and where was Longfellow born, and where educated?