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Apples of Hesperides !
O for festal dainties spread,
Cheerily, then, my little man,
Shall the cool wind kiss the heat:
QUESTIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Are you in a hurry to be a that the grown-up man
man or a woman? Why? “only is republican” be2. Read aloud the first 8 lines | cause he knows that he is to describe the barefoot no better and no more
important than any one 3. Why is line 4, p. 179, so sad a else. statement?
5. Who are the “million4. Why is a boy a "prince" dollared”?
and a man a “repub-6. Why is the barefoot boy
8. Read aloud the “ knowledge | 17. What does the poet mean by
never learned of schools ” | “as my horizon grew "? in lines 17–28, p. 179, and 18. Describe a banquet hall lines 1-11, p. 180.
made by man. 9. Why does the barefoot boy 19. Describe the barefoot boy's
not need books to get this banquet hall by reading knowledge? Lines 6-9, aloud lines 11-20, p. 181. p. 180.
Explain each line. 10. What is meant by “Part 20. What was his “ orchestra "?
and parcel of her joy"? 21. What furnished the lights 11. Explain“ Crowding years in of the orchestra and the
one brief moon.” What banquet hall ?
23. What things “waited on” 12. How was he “master” of : him?
all the wonderful things 24. What warning does he give of June? How did they to boys in the first two " wait for " him?
lines of the last stanza? 13. What things seemed to exist 25. What are “stubble
just for him? Lines 16-1 spears "? Why does he
26. What are “ prison cells of 14. What things seemed to be- 'pride”? Why does he long only to him?
call them this? 15. Show how the barefoot boy 27. What will soon come to the
really owned all of the bare feet of the boy? wild flowers and squirrels Lines 2–7, p. 182. .
and humming birds. 28. What does the poet hope will 16. If he had really owned never happen to the “bare
them, and had shut them feet”? Lines 8–11, p. 182. away from all other Explain their meaning. people, why could he not 29. What do the last two lines have enjoyed them more? | of the poem tell you?
IN SCHOOL DAYS
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER
This is a very famous and beloved poem. Oliver Wendell Holmes, soon after the publication of this poem, wrote the author congratulating him on having written the greatest schoolboy poem in the English language. It tells a very sweet story of the poet Whittier as a little boy in a country school, and of a little girl, who “ went above him” by spelling correctly a word which he had missed in the old-fashioned spelling class.
Now let us try to picture the scene of the story.
First, let us see a little, old, unpainted country schoolhouse, looking like a “ragged beggar sunning” himself beside the road. Try to see it as it looks on the outside.
Now let us go inside the schoolhouse.
Here is the “master's desk,” with the dents in its surface where he had rapped loudly for order, when the boys and girls were noisy.
The floor is made of wide boards, much warped. The seats, made of common boards or of slabs with legs in them, are badly battered, and here are initials which the boys have cut into them with their jackknives.
On the wall are “ charcoal frescoes," or rude pictures drawn by the boys with pieces of charcoal from the old stove.
And under the door is an old sill, deeply worn by feet that crept in when school was called, but which“ went storming out to play.” Do you think that was about the way the boys and girls acted?
Now to complete the scene, let us get the time of the year and of the day.
Shut your eyes and try to see the schoolhouse, and a “winter sun” setting at four o'clock, and lighting up the small windowpanes, and also the icicles that hung from the eaves of the old schoolhouse.
Now have you imagined all this? Read over again silently the first four stanzas, and try hard to see all these pictures.
The children are loitering in groups along the snowy road on their way home, — all except a little girl and a little boy. The little boy is supposed to be the boy Whittier, and the little girl had “ passed above him " that day in the spelling class.
Now read stanzas 5, 6, 7, and 8, and try to see the little girl, with tangled golden curls and eyes full of tears, as she stands fingering her blue-checked apron. Stanzas 6 and 7 tell what the boy Whittier was doing meanwhile. Try to see him pushing the snow back and forth with his restless feet. Try to think why he had —
“ His cap pulled low upon a face
It was considered cause for shame in the old-time school to miss a word in the spelling class and to have some one spell it correctly and “ go above you.” The boys and girls stood in a long row or line, and at the left end of the line as the teacher looked at the class, was the “head of the class.” The spelling began at the “ head” and went down the class, the teacher pronouncing a word to each pupil. If a scholar missed a word, it passed on to the next, and so on till some one spelled it correctly, when that scholar walked proudly in front of those who had missed it and took his place above them in the class.
So you see that young Whittier had missed a word that day, and the little girl had spelled it correctly and had “ gone above him.”
Read again stanza 8, and try to see what the little girl does.
Then read stanza 9, and try to hear what she says, and to see her as she says it.