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Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
- HELPS TO STUDY Charles Wolfe, a British clergyman, was born at Dublin, December
14, 1791, and died at Cork, February 21, 1823. His poem, “The Burial of Sir John Moore,” is the only one of his works now widely read. Historical: Sir John Moore, an English general, was killed (January 16, 1809) in an engagement between the English and the army of Napoleon at Corunna, in Spain. In accordance with an expressed wish, he was buried at night on the battlefield. In St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, a monument was erected to his memory, and a stone also marks the spot where he was buried on the ramparts, at Corunna. Note that it was from this port that the Spanish Armada sailed.
Notes and Questions
Who tells the story of the poem 2 Which stanza or stanzas do you
know? most beautiful and memorize What impressions of Sir John them.
Moore do you get from reading | Which is the greater memorial, a
this poem? monument of stone or bronze, or
THE waters slept. Night's silvery veil hung low
King David’s limbs were weary. He had fled
"Oh, when the heart is full—when bitter thoughts
Come crowding thickly up for utterance,
He prayed for Israel; and his voice went up
Strongly and fervently. He prayed for those
Grew tremulous. But oh! for Absalom—
“Alas, my noble boy, that thou shouldst die!
That death should settle in thy glorious eye,
How could he mark thee for the silent tomb,
“Cold is thy brow, my son, and I am chill
How I was wont to feel my pulses thrill,
And hear thy sweet “My father!” from these dumb
“But death is on thee. I shall hear the gush
And life will pass me in the mantling blush,
But thou no more, with thy sweet voice, shalt come
“And oh! when I am stricken, and my heart,
How will its love for thee, as I depart,
It were so sweet, amid death's gathering gloom,
“And now, farewell! 'Tis hard to give thee up,
And thy dark sin! Oh, I could drink the cup,
May God have called thee, like a wanderer, home,
He covered up his face, and bowed himself
His hands convulsively, as if in prayer;
HELPS TO STUDY.
Nathaniel Parker Willis was born in Maine in 1806. He was a graduate of Yale and was an early contributor to various periodicals, including the “Youths’ Companion,” which magazine had been founded by his father. The selection here given is regarded as the poet’s masterplece.
Historical: Absalom, the son of David, King of Israel, rebelled against his father. David sent his army to put down the rebellion, but said to his captains, “Deal gently for my sake with the young man, even with Absalom.” In spite of this entreaty, Absalom was slain by Joab, a captain in David’s army. The first forty-one lines relate to events preceding the battle, the remainder to events following the battle. Read 2 Samuel XVIII.
Notes and Questions
Find the Jordan on your map. Forgot the lifting winds’’— Locate the Dead Sea; the wood of What does this mean? Why Ephraim where Absalom was “lulling tide”? killed. What flowers does the poet mean Describe the picture you see when in the eighth line? Is the poet you read the first stanza. true to nature in what he says What do we call such expressions of them? Show why. as “Night's silvery veil”? Select two words or expressions What is night's silvery veil? that seem to you to be especially ‘‘The willow leaves with a soft beautiful or fit, and tell why.
cheek upon the lulling tide, Do you like the selection? Why?
Words and Phrases for Discussion
‘‘waters slept” ‘‘melting tenderness’’ ‘‘fashioned for a happier world” “lifting winds’’ ‘‘mantling blush” ‘‘straightened for the grave” “estranged” “‘breathing sleep” “resistless eloquence” “bruised reed'’ ‘‘still proportions’’ “Whose diamonds lit the passage of his blade’’