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The clouds are at play in the azure space,

And their shadows at play on the bright green vale, And here they stretch to the frolic chase,

And there they roll on the easy gale.

There's a dance of leaves in that aspen bower,

There's a titter of winds in that beechen tree, There's a smile on the fruit, and a smile on the flower,

And a laugh from the brook that runs to the sea.


And look at the broad-faced sun, how he smiles

On the dewy earth that smiles in his rays,
On the leaping waters and gay young isles;

Ay, look, and he'll smile thy gloom away.



What time of year does this poem describe?
What kind of bird is a hang-bird?

Explain “wilding bee,” “azure space," "stretch to the frolic chase,” “roll on the easy gale.”

What is meant by “aspen bower”?


To a Waterfowl
To the Fringed Gentian
The Fountain
Robert of Lincoln
The White-footed Deer
A Forest Hymn
The Antiquity of Freedom

The Death of the Flowers
Song of Marion's Men
“Innocent Child and Snow-white

The Planting of the Apple-tree
The Voice of Autumn
To a Cloud
The Flood of Years



Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston, Mass., May 25, 1803. His father was a clergyman, who died when Ralph was a child, leaving the family to struggle with poverty. The boy prepared for college at the Boston Latin School, entering Harvard at the age of fourteen, where he paid part of his expenses by waiting at table in the college dining-hall. He took prizes for his essays and one for declamation, and was class day poet. After graduation, he taught a few years, and then entered the ministry. Later, he became a lecturer. His works include both prose and poetry, the prose writings being all in the form of essays. The subjects he chose were general, as History, Friendship, and Compensation. In reading Emerson, you learn to look at things in a new light, to see truths you had not suspected. This is due to his singularly pure nature and keen mental vision. He seemed to see through the disguises of the world, and penetrated to the soul beneath. He died in Concord, Mass., April 27, 1882.

The glory of the farmer is that, in the division of labors, it is his part to create. All trade rests at last on his primitive activity. He stands close to nature; he obtains from

the earth the bread and the meat. The food which was 5 not, he causes to be. The first farmer was the first man, and all historic nobility rests on possession and use of land. Men do not like hard work, but every man has an exceptional respect for tillage, and a feeling that this is the

original calling of his race, that he himself is only excused 10 from it by some circumstance which made him delegate

it for a time to other hands. If he have not some skill which recommends him to the farmer, some product for which the farmer will give him corn, he must himself return into his due place among the planters. And the profession has in all eyes its ancient charm, as standing nearest to God, the first cause.

Then the beauty of nature, the tranquillity and inno5 cence of the countryman, his independence, and his pleasing arts the care of bees, of poultry, of sheep, of cows, the dairy, the care of hay, of fruits, of orchards and forests and the reaction of these on the workman, in giving him

a strength and plain dignity like the face and manners of 10 nature, all men acknowledge. All men keep the farm

in reserve as an asylum where, in case of mischance, they may hide their poverty, or a solitude, if they do not succeed in society. And who knows how many glances of

remorse are turned this way from the bankrupts of trade, 15 from mortified pleaders in courts and senates, or from the

victims of idleness and pleasure? Poisoned by town life and town vices, the sufferer resolves: “Well, my children whom I have injured shall go back to the land, to be re

cruited and cured by that which should have been my 20 nursery, and now shall be their hospital.”


What does Emerson say is the glory of the farmer?
What is meant by “primitive activity”?
How are we dependent upon the farmer for food?
What are spoken of here as “pleasing arts”?
How do they react on the workman?

Explain “keep the farm in reserve as an asylum," "in case of mischance," "bankrupts of trade," "mortified pleaders in courts and senates," "victims of idleness and pleasure,” “to be recruited and cured.”


The Mountain and the Squirrel The Humble Bee

Forbearance The Snowstorm

Love's Nobility Each and All

Sky-born Music The Concord Hymn




Oliver Wendell Holmes was born in Cambridge, Mass., August 29, 1809. At the age of sixteen, he entered Harvard College, graduating in 1829. He decided to become a physician, and went to Paris for study, and returned to open an office in Boston. He was appointed professor of anatomy at Dartmouth College, and was called to a similar position at Harvard in 1847. Although he made some valuable contributions to medical science, he is best known as an author. His writings consist of both prose and poetry. He died at Boston, October 7, 1894.

“The Chambered Nautilus” is the poem which Holmes himself preferred. It is probably the most familiar of his serious verse.

This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,

Sails the unshadowed main

The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,

And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming




Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;

Wrecked is the ship of pearl!

And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell.

Before thee lies revealed --
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!


Year after year beheld the silent toil

That spread his lustrous coil;

Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year's dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,

Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no




Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,

Child of the wandering sea.

Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathed horn.!

While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that

sings: -


Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,

As the swift seasons roll!

Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,

Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!



What is a nautilus?
What does chambered” mean?
Why does the poet call it the “ship of pearl”?
Explain “unshadowed main, ,” “venturous bark,' gulfs enchanted.”
What is a “Siren”?
Who are meant by the “cold sea-maids”?
What impression is given by “webs of living gauze”?

Why is the word "wrecked” used by the poet? What does it mean?

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