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Alfred, Lord Tennyson was born at Somersby, Lincolnshire, England, August 6, 1809. Even as a child he had a great love for poetry, and, with his brother, published some verses before he went to college. In 1828, he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, where he won a medal for his poem, “Timbuctoo." His first book of importance was published in 1832, and he continued writing to the close of his life. Crossing the Bar” was written in his eighty-first year. On the death of Wordsworth in 1850, Tennyson was made Poet Laureate of England. He died October 6, 1892.

In the following poem, Tennyson mourns the death of his dearly loved friend, Arthur Henry Hallam.

Break, break, break,

On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter

The thoughts that arise in me.


O well for the fisherman's boy,

That he shouts with his sister at play!
O well for the sailor lad,

That he sings in his boat on the bay!


And the stately ships go on

To their haven under the hill;
But O for the touch of a vanished hand,

And the sound of a voice that is still!

Break, break, break,

At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!
But the tender grace of a day that is dead
Will never come back to me.



What great sorrow in the life of the poet called forth this poem? What other great poem of Tennyson's was written in memory of his friend?

What sound is suggested to you by the words, “Break, break, break”?
For what does the poet long in the third stanza?
Explain “haven under the hill.”

What do you think is meant by “the tender grace of a day that is dead”?


The Charge of the Light Brigade
The Revenge
The Brook
Enoch Arden *
Sir Galahad
Crossing the Bar

Death of the Old Year
Ring Out, Wild Bells
Lady Clare
The Bugle Songt
Home They Brought Her

Warrior Dead †

(* Published in the Educational Publishing Company's Fifteen Cent Classics.)

(† From “The Princess,” published in the Educational Publishing Company's Fifteen Cent Classics.)


I American




Samuel Francis Smith, a Baptist clergyman and author, was born in Boston, Mass., October 21, 1808. After graduating from Harvard College, he studied for the ministry at the Andover Theological Seminary. He is well known from the hymns and songs he has written, including besides “My Country, 'Tis of Thee,” “The Morning Light is Breaking,” etc. He died at Bridgeport, Conn., in 1895.

“My Country, 'Tis of Thee,” or America,” was written while Dr. Smith was a student at Andover, and it was first sung at a children's Fourth of July celebration in the Park Street Church, Boston. Following is Dr. Smith's own account of the writing of the hymn:

“In looking through some singing books used in German schools, I came to the tune to which ‘America’ is written. I spelled out the notes and found the tune bright and stirring. I looked down at the words at the bottom of the page and found them to be a patriotic hymn. 'Ah,' I thought, “patriotic, that is just the tune for a patriotic hymn. America shall have one of her own.' I reached for a scrap of waste paper, and in less than an hour ‘America' was written, very nearly as you see it to-day.”

My country, 'tis of thee,
Sweet Land of Liberty,

Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the Pilgrim's pride,
From every mountain-side

Let Freedom ring.


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Who wrote “My Country, 'Tis of Thee"?
Under what circumstances did he write it?

What is there in it to make everyone feel that the song and the country are his own?

Explain "templed hills."
What petitions are expressed to God in the last stanza?

II English


Henry Carey was born in London in 1683. After studying music he taught for a living, and wrote a number of musical dramas and ballad operas. One of his ballads is “Sally in Our Alley.” He died in London, October 4, 1743.

God Save the King!” (or Queen), the authorship of which has been disputed, was probably composed by Henry Carey about 1740. The tune, which is the same as that used for “My Country, 'Tis of Thee,” was adopted in France in 1776, and was afterward used as the Danish, Prussian, and German national air.

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