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Why, Elihu, that took to the sea
The moment I put him off my knee!
It was just the other day
The Gray Swan sailed away."

S. "The other day?" The sailor's eyes
Stood open with a great surprise,

"The other day!- the Swan!"
His heart began in his throat to rise.

M. "Ay, ay, sir; here in the cupboard lies
The jacket he had on."


"And so your lad is


M. "Gone with the Swan." S. "And did she stand
With her anchor clutching hold of the sand

For a month, and never stir?"

Why, to be sure! I've seen from the land,
Like a lover kissing his lady's hand,

The wild sea kissing her,
A sight to remember, sir."

M. "



S. "But, my good mother, do you know
All this was twenty years ago?

I stood on the Gray Swan's deck,
And to that lad I saw you throw-
Taking it off, as it might be, so! —
The kerchief from your neck."
Ay, and he'll bring it back!"


S. "And did the little lawless lad,

That has made you sick and made you sad,
Sail with the Gray Swan's crew?"
M. "Lawless! the man is going mad!
The best boy ever mother had!

Be sure he sailed with the crew:
What would you have him do?"

S. "And has he never written line,
Nor sent you word, nor made you sign,
To say he was alive?"

M. "Hold! if 'twas wrong, the wrong is mine;
Besides, he may be in the brine,

And could he write from the grave?
Tut, man! what would you have?"

S. "Gone twenty years, — a long, long cruise!
'Twas wicked thus your love to abuse;
But if the lad still live,

And come back home, think you you can
Forgive him?" M. "Miserable man,
You're mad as the sea,-you rave!
What have I to forgive?"

The sailor twitched his shirt so blue,
And from within his bosom drew
The kerchief. She was wild.

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M. "My God! my Father! is it true?
My little lad, my Elihu!

My blessed boy, my child!
My dead, my living child!


1. After you have read this poem through, read it again in dia. logue form one pupil taking the mother's part and another the sailor's. In this way you will realize more clearly which one is speaking. 2. What was the Gray Swan? How long since she had sailed away? Why does the mother say, "It was just the other day"? 3. Explain the fourth line of the third stanza. Explain the sixth line of the fourth stanza. 4. Why does the mother call the grown man her little lad? 5. Explain the last line of the last stanza.

Written Composition. Write the story, suggested by the Gray Swan, of the boy who went to sea. Select an attractive title for your story, then write:

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1. Why he went whether he ran away, or went to earn money for his mother. 2. Whether it was as pleasant as he expected. 3. Why he stayed away so long. 4. His return.

You may use in your composition lines or expressions that you like from any of the sea poems in this book.

Common and Proper Nouns. How many nouns are there in the following sentences?

1. Is my little lad, my Elihu,

A-sailing with your ship?

2. The Gray Swan sailed away.

Which of them are the names of particular persons or things? Which of them are names that belong to a large class of objects?

Rule. A noun used as the name of a particular person, place, or thing is called a proper noun. (A proper noun is written with a capital.)

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Rule. A noun used as the name of a class of persons, places,

or things is called a common noun.

Which of the following nouns are proper and which are common? Elihu, country, Kansas City, man, lad, Gray Swan, United States, city, George Washington, ship.

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Written Exercise. Write ten proper nouns. Write ten com

mon nouns.



[In 1833 the government decided to destroy the frigate Constitution, popularly known as "Old Ironsides," which had been built in 1797, and had won several glorious victories during the War of 1812. Holmes, then a young man, wrote these verses in protest. They so aroused public opinion that the project was abandoned and the Constitution still exists.]

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down!
Long has it waved on high,
And many an eye has danced to see
That banner in the sky;
Beneath it rung the battle shout,
And burst the cannon's roar;
The meteor of the ocean air
Shall sweep the clouds no more.

Her deck, once red with heroes' blood,
Where knelt the vanquished foe,





When winds were hurrying o'er the flood,
And waves were white below,
No more shall feel the victor's tread,
Or know the conquered knee ;-
The harpies of the shore shall pluck
The eagle of the sea!

Oh, better that her shattered hulk
Should sink beneath the wave;
Her thunders shook the mighty deep,
And there should be her grave;
Nail to the mast her holy flag,
Set every threadbare sail,
And give her to the god of storms,
The lightning and the gale!


en'sign, flag; van 'quished, conquered; har'pies, foul birds.

1. Read the poem aloud. What kind of vessel was "Old Iron

sides"? Read the lines that prove your answer.

2. Explain "The meteor of the ocean air.”

3. Explain the last two lines of the second stanza.

4. What is meant by her thunders?

5. Why is the flag called holy?

6. Give the last four lines of the last stanza in your own words.
7. Learn the poem by heart.

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