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And yet, unwittingly, in truth,
They made his careless words their law.
They knew not how he learned at all,
He sat and watched the dead leaves fall,
It seemed the loveliness of things
Did teach him all their use,
For in mere weeds, and stones, and springs,
Men granted that his speech was wise,
Yet after he was dead and gone,
And day by day more holy grew
Their first-born brother as a god.
- JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.
di vine', belonging to the gods (kings were supposed to rule by divine right, that is, by power given to them by the gods); de creed', ordered; vice'roy, one who rules as representing a king (vice means "in the place of "); mused, thought dreamily; pro fuse', widespread.
1. Read the whole poem carefully. What shape is the empty tortoise shell? What musical instruments have we made by stretching cords over wood shaped something like this shell? 2. How would you express in prose the line, "brimmed their eyes with dew"? 3. Explain the last line of the third stanza. 4. Why was the youth called "good-for-naught"? Read the stanzas that show he did not deserve the name. 5. What does viceroy mean? What, then, does vice president mean? Substitute another word for mused in the seventh stanza. 6. In what way was he wiser than most of us? Who was his teacher? (See the seventh and eighth stanzas.) 7. Read the poem all through once more and see if you can find what lesson it teaches.
Word Study: Words that have the same form in the singular and the plural.
1. The sheep is being sheared. 2. The sheep are under the trees. 3. I see the sheep.
In the first sentence how many sheep are spoken of? In the second? In the third? What form has the word sheep when only one is meant? When more are meant? How can you tell whether one or more than one is referred to?
Some words have the same form in singular and plural: sheep, deer, trout, cannon.
Some words have only a plural form: scissors, shears, trousers spectacles, clothes.
Written Exercise. - Write a sentence using deer in the singular, one using sheep, one using cannon. Write sentences using these words in the plural.
Punctuation. -Notice the word o'er in the fourth stanza of King Admetus. Write the word out in full, supplying the letter
that is omitted. How is the omission shown? Find another instance of this same kind in the poem. What letter is omitted here? How is the omission shown?
When words are shortened by the omission of letters, an apostrophe (') marks the omission.
Written Exercise. - Write the following sentences out in full,
supplying the letters that are omitted:
1. There's no dew left on the daisies and clover,
I've said my seven times" over and over,
2. Howe'er it be, it seems to me
3. O velvet bee! you're a dusty fellow,
4. Where the pools are bright and deep,
Study these verses, notice how they are punctuated, especially where the apostrophe is used, and write them from dictation.
AT midnight, in his guarded tent,
The Turk was dreaming of the hour
In dreams, through camp and court, he bore
In dreams his song of triumph heard;
At midnight, in the forest shades,
Bozzaris ranged his Suliote band,
There had the Persian's thousands stood,
And now there breathed that haunted air
An hour passed on-the Turk awoke;
He woke to hear his sentries shriek,
"To arms! they come! the Greek! the Greek!”
And death-shots falling thick and fast
As lightnings from the mountain-cloud;
God, and your native land!"
They fought, like brave men, long and well
His few surviving comrades saw
His smile, when rang their proud hurrah,
They saw in death his eyelids close
Like flowers at set of sun.
Bozzaris! with the storied brave
Greece nurtured in her glory's time,
That were not born to die.
- FITZ-GREENE HALLECK.