Page images
PDF
EPUB

2. What was the character of his first volume, and when was it published?

3. How did Longfellow better prepare himself for his professorships, and at the same time greatly enrich his literary life?

4. For what is Craigie House noted, aside from its association with Longfellow ?

5. Name some of Longfellow's most famous works.

6. What does a study of Longfellow's numerous works reveal of his sympathies, tastes, and studies, and what hints do they give of his personal experience?

7. What do the poems reveal of the poet's friendships?

EVANGELINE

In this poem, Longfellow teaches a lesson of Purpose. steadfast love, and of patient endurance under trial and affliction. It is the lesson of a personal love (that is, of Evangeline's love for Gabriel) being turned, in its sorrow and disappointment, not into bitterness, but into a love for all mankind. The poem also shows the hatefulness of injustice and oppression, as typified in that meted out to the Acadians.

Taking the story of the Acadians as his ground- Method. work, Longfellow constructs a touching romance framed in a long narrative of absorbing interest and wondrous pictorial power. Note that he has discarded rhyme in this poem, and read what is said in the Introduction to "Evangeline" (pages 254, 255) regarding his effective use of the dactylic hexameter.

Part I opens with a picture of the happy life Unfolding the Acadian peasants, and shows their admir- of the plot. able traits of character. In the village of Grand-Pré live the chief characters: - Evangeline, the lovely heroine, her father, her lover Gabriel, son of Basil the blacksmith, and the good priest, Father Felician. Soon come the terrible incidents of the sentence of exile, the embarking, the

[ocr errors]

burning of the village, the death of Evangeline's father, and her separation from her lover.

Part II shows the exiles scattered over America, some prosperously settled in fertile Louisiana, some in the prairies of the Southwest, others again, in the forests of Michigan. Evangeline has begun her long and weary search for her lover. Sometimes she all but finds him, - so close upon his trail she has come, but it is always her fate just to miss him. Thus her youth and beauty pass away in restless wandering and fruitless search, until she returns, a sad, middleaged woman, to Philadelphia, the city where she had first landed, an exile. Here, living the life of a Sister of Mercy, she ministers to the poor and the sick. And here, in the Friends' Almshouse, one Sabbath day, she finds Gabriel, an old, gray-haired man, dying of the fever. She closes his eyes in death, and her long search is over.

Remarks.

The emotional appeal of this poem, and the beauty of its language are obvious. (1) Note at the beginning and at the end of the poem the symbolic use of the "forest primeval," and of the "deep-mouthed neighboring ocean. What are their purpose and their effect in the poem?

[ocr errors]

-

(2) Note what a variety of information, of description, and of legendary lore the poet weaves into this tale.

Select for study (1) portions especially distinguished for pathos and for truthful portrayal of human nature; (2) passages which impress you (a) by their picturesque descriptions of nature; (b) by the power and originality of their figures; (c) by their well-chosen allusions.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF POE

1. State the facts of Poe's birth, early life, and education. 2. What qualities in him did his life at the university reveal?

3. What were the results of his running away to Boston? 4. Describe his military career.

5. Describe his life and literary work after leaving West Point until 1837.

6. Describe his literary career from 1837 until the publication of "The Raven."

7. What were the leading events of his life from 1845 to his death in 1849?

8. Give a summary of Poe's character as you find it expressed in his life.

9. What is the character of most of Poe's work, what does it reveal of Poe's nature, and what is its place in literature ? 10. How was his critical work once regarded, and why is it now little read?

THE RAVEN, ISRAFEL, AND ANNABEL LEE NOTE. The footnotes convey ample suggestion of the way to study and interpret these poems.

THE BELLS

Remarks.

"The Bells" is conceded to be one of the most musical poems in literature. While the ideas it embodies are not particularly original, the poem is noteworthy because of its incomparable melody. Throughout the poem, Poe has made brilliant use of the figure of speech called onomatopoeia, in which words are used which suggest by their sounds the things they represent.

Example: "How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle."

Give other examples of the use of this figure in the poem.

SUGGESTIVE QUESTIONS

Compare the spirit and the form of these four poems with those of Emerson included in this book. (See pages 398–401.) What do think you Poe's chief aim in writing poetry? Was it to represent some spiritual ideal? Or was he most concerned with rhythm, with melody, and beauty of form?

was

What was Emerson's chief concern in writing poetry? Draw an interesting contrast between the characters and ideals of Poe and Emerson.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF BURROUGHS

1. What was the nature of Burroughs's early associations, and how did these affect his writing?

2. What authors most deeply influenced him?

3. In what way has he paid tribute to his teachers?

4. What were the fruits of his Washington residence, and of his trips abroad?

5. Note that Mr. Burroughs is an instance of an able writer following literature, not as a means of subsistence, but as an avocation. What other American authors can you recall as doing likewise?

A SPRAY OF PINE

Purpose.

Burroughs writes of the pine tree because he understands and loves it; and we, who also love it, read his essay with pleasure and appreciation. Wherever the humanizing touch (which is so characteristic of Burroughs's work) is present in nature writing, ideals of character and conduct are apt to be found also, although more or less incidentally. And these ideals we may draw from Burroughs's observations on the pine tree.

Method.

The author shows that the pine tree is far less adaptable in its habits than are deciduous trees, and far less complex in its methods of growth. But this very simplicity is an element of strength. "The pine has but one idea, and that is to mount heavenward by regular steps." This is its greatest lesson for us, but it has other lessons as well: its protecting friendliness, its courage, its silence, its healing balm and fragrance, its diverse useful

ness.

SUGGESTIVE QUESTIONS

The author asserts that "the dominant races come from the region of the pine." What kind of dominance has he in mind? Perhaps we should not accept his statement too

complacently. We should not forget that, though the north gave us the Vikings, the south gave us Columbus.

Note what a clever summing up of Emerson's literary style Burroughs presents in his idea of the speech of a pine What influence did Emerson have upon Burroughs's literary ideals? Can you see a reason why Emerson should have affected a man of Burroughs's character?

tree.

What other authors, and of what nationality, does Burroughs admire, as revealed in this paper?

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF HENRY

1. Was Patrick Henry's start in life a promising one? Give reasons for your answer.

2. The possession of what great mental gifts did he disclose while qualifying himself for the bar?

3. In what way did he reveal his independent and patriotic spirit at the beginning of his legal career?

4. How did he reveal it later in the House of Burgesses? 5. What was his part in the work of the First Continental Congress?

6. Describe his great work from then on in instigating and aiding the Revolution.

7. After independence was won, on what great political issue did Henry again show his uncompromising democracy? 8. What evidence can be cited to show that Patrick Henry was a man "in advance of his age"?

HENRY'S SPEECH OF MARCH 23, 1775

The speech should be read in connection with the biographical sketch of Henry, and the descriptive introduction.

OUTLINE OF THE SPEECH

1. We should no longer shut our eyes to the true state of affairs between England and America.

2. Past experience with the British Ministry should show us the error of hoping for justice at its hands.

3. Great Britain means to subjugate us.

« PreviousContinue »