Page images


Notes and Questions In this poem Shelley personifies the Read the last stanza and tell what Cloud. Why?

lesson the poem teaches. What What does the second stanza mean line tells you? to you?

What pictures do you get from the The third stanza relates to the fifth stanza ?

sun; what comparisons are made? Which stanza is most musical and What comparisons are found in the pleasing?

fourth stanza ?

Words and Phrases for Discussion sanguine sunrise"

“pavilion of heaven" "reel and swim” "meteor eyes

"caverns of rain' "million-colored bow" “burning plumes” "fleece-like floor" "sphere-fire” “orbed maiden"

6 wind-built tent' "cenotaph'

(From "Childe Harold," Canto IV.)

THERE is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar;
I love not man the less, but nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,

To mingle with the universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.



Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean-roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin-his control
Stops with the shore; upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man's ravage, save his own,
When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,


He sinks into thy depths, with bubbling groanWithout a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.


His steps are not upon thy paths—thy fields
Are not a spoil for him—thou dost arise
And shake him from thee; the vile strength he wields
For earth's destruction thou dost all despise,
Spurning him from thy bosom to the skies,
And send'st him, shivering in thy playful spray,
And howling to his gods, where haply lies

His petty hope in some near port or bay,
And dashest him again to earth: there let him lay.



The armaments which thunder-strike the walls
Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake,
And monarchs tremble in their capitals,
The oak leviathans, whose huge ribs make
Their clay creator the vain title take
Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war:
These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake,

They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar
Alike the Armada's pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.


Thy shores are empires changed in all save thee-
Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?

Thy waters washed them power while they were free, 40

And many a tyrant since; their shores obey
The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay
Has dried up realms to deserts; not so thou;
Unchangeable save to thy wild waves' play.

Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow:
45 Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.

Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form
Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,
Calm or convulsed—in breeze or gale or storm,
Icing the pole, or in the torrid clime
Dark-heaving; boundless, endless, and sublime


The image of Eternity—the throne
Of the Invisible; even from out thy slime

The monsters of the deep are made; each zone

Obeys thee; thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone. 55 And I have loved thee, Ocean! and my joy

Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be
Borne, like thy bubbles, onward: from a boy
I wantoned with thy breakers—they to me

Were a delight; and if the freshening sea 60 Made them a terror—'twas a pleasing fear;

For I was as it were a child of thee,

And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid my hand upon thy mane—as I do here.

HELPS TO STUDY Biographical and Historical: George Gordon Byron was born in London the year before the outbreak of the French Revolution. At the age of ten, upon the death of his grand-uncle he became Lord Byron. He traveled extensively through Europe, spending much time in Italy. At Pisa he formed a warm friendship for the poet Shelley. So deeply was he moved by his impulses toward liberty and freedom that in the summer of 1823 he left Genoa with a supply of arms, medicines, and money to aid the Greeks in their struggle for independence. In the following year he came commander-in-chief at Missolonghi, but he died of a fever before he had an opportunity to actually engage in battle. Hearing the news, the boy Tennyson, dreaming at Somersby on poetic greatness, crept away to weep and carve upon sandstone the words, Byron is dead."

Notes and Questions In the first stanza why "pathless Line 22- What word requires

woods” and “lonely' shore''? emphasis ? In the second and third stanzas In the fourth stanza what contrast

Byron contrasts the ocean and does Byron make?

the earth in their relation to man. What does the fifth stanza tell? Line 12—What two words require The sixth? emphasis ?

Which stanza do you like best? Line 13—With what is "watery

Why? plain" contrasted ?

Which lines are the most beauti. Line 14— With what is "thy” ful?


"The Invincible Armada”-an immense Spanish fleet consisting of one hundred thirty vessels, sailed from Corunna in 1588 and attacked the English fleet but suffered defeat. This event furnished Southey the inspiration for a poem, “The Spanish Armada."

Trafalgar”—one of Lord Nelson's great sea-fights, occurring off Cape Trafalgar on the coast of Spain in 1805. Here he defeated the combined fleets of France and Spain, but was himself killed.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

THE Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea,
When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee.

5 Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green,

That host with their banners at sunset were seen;
Like the leaves of the forest when autumn hath flown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown.

For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, 10 And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;

And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and forever grew still!

And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,

But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride; 15 And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,

And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.

And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow and the rust on his mail;

And the tents were all silent, the banners alone, 20 The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.

And the widows of Ashur are loud in their wail,
And their idols are broke in the temple of Baal;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow in the glance of the Lord !

HELPS TO STUDY Historical: Sennacherib was King of Assyria. His army invaded Judea and besieged Jerusalem but was overthrown; 185,000 of his men were destroyed in a single night. Sennacherib returned in haste with the remnant to his own country. For the Bible story of this event read 2 Kings XIX. 6-36.

Notes and Questions Find Assyria and Galilee on your 7. Their religion broken dowa.

8. map.


"melted like Note the development:

snow.' 1. Brilliant outset of the Assyrian What two comparisons are found cavalry.

in the first stanza ? 2. Their summer changes to win. Note the movement and rhythm. ter.

Point out the fitness of the two 3. The angel turns their sleep into similes in the second stanza. death.

Find a comparison in the sixth 4. The steed and the rider.

stanza. 5. The mourning.

"Ashur” —Assyria. 6. Their idols powerless to help “Baal'—the sun-god worshipped them.

by the Assyrians.

Indicate the rhythm of the four lines of the second stanza by writing them in groups under curves as on page 47.

Words and Phrases for Discussion

6 cohorts")


Widols are broke" "purple and gold” (broken) "withered and strown" "rock-beating surf"

« PreviousContinue »