« PreviousContinue »
fancy and sentiment with grotesque drollery and humor. Hood, under all his whims and oddities, conceals the vehement intensity of a reformer. The iron of the world's wrongs has entered into his soul. There is an undertone of sorrow in his lyrics. His sarcasm, directed against oppression and bigotry, at times betrays the earnestness of one whose own withers have been wrung. Holmes writes simply for the amusement of himself and his readers. He deals only with the vanities, the foibles, and the minor faults of mankind, good-naturedly and almost sympathizingly suggesting excuses for folly, which he tosses about on the horns of his ridicule. Long may he live to make broader the face of our care-ridden generation, and to realize for himself the truth of the wise man's declaration, that “a merry heart is a continual feast."
1.-THE DEACON'S MASTERPIECE.
you heard of the wonderful one-hoss shay,
LITERARY ANALYSIS.-I. one-hoss shay. It will be observed that a number of words and expressions in this piece belong to the Yankee dialect-if dialect we may venture to call it after Mr. Lowell's clever proof that many of these so-called provincialisms are really drawn from the "well of English undefiled.”
2. logical way. In what consists the drollery of the epithet?
9-17. Seventeen ... shay. Observe the comical effect gained by associating the finishing of the one-horse shay with the occurrence of great historical events. Explain the allusions.—What metaphors in this stanza, and what is their nature?
That was the year when Lisbon town
3. Now, in building of chaises, I tell you what,
There is always somewhere a weakest spot,-
4. But the Deacon swore (as deacons do,
With an “I dew vum,” or an “I tell yeou”)
Is only jest
5. So the Deacon inquired of the village folk
Where he could find the strongest oak,
LITERARY ANALYSIS.—18-26. Now ... out. How is droll emphasis given to the statement that in building chaises "there is always somewhere a weakest spot?”—doesn't. The poet is too exact a scholar to say don't.
27-36. But ... rest. This stanza affords a goodly study of “ Yankee" pronunciation and phraseology. (Pupils will do well to refer to Mr. Lowell's essay introductory to his Biglow Papers.)
37-57. So... dew! The clever handling of details will be observed. Pupils may point out touches that strike them as specially noticeable.
That was for spokes and floor and sills;
“There !” said the Deacon, “naow she'll dew!". 6. Do! I tell you, I rather guess
She was a wonder, and nothing less!
As fresh as on Lisbon-earthquake day!
The Deacon's masterpiece strong and sound.
LITERARY ANALYSIS. -58–64. Do... day! In this stanza point out a socalled Yankeeism which is really good Elizabethan English.-What personification is made ?-By what details, skilfully introduced, is the lapse of time vividly suggested ?
66. strong and sound. Grammatical construction ?
8. Little of all we value here
Wakes on the morn of its hundredth year
9. First of NoVEMBER—the earthquake day
There are traces of age in the one-hoss shay,
10. First of November, fifty-five!
This morning the parson takes a drive.
LITERARY ANALYSIS.—73–79. Of the fifty-five words in stanza 8 only six are of other than Anglo-Saxon origin : what are these words ?-In this stanza point out a fine aphorism.
80-94. First ... out! What expression, reiterated in line 80, begins to grow very significant ?-What expression in this stanza finely describes the state of the chaise now ?—Point out the examples of polysyndeton : what is the effect of the use of this figure ?-Note the rhymes in lines 89-92.
95-118. First ... burst. In this stanza point out humorous touches and comical epithets. —Point out an effective simile.
The parson was working his Sunday's text, -
11. End of the wonderful one-hoss shay.
Logic is logic. That's all I say.
II.—THE CHAMBERED NAUTILUS. 1. This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
Sails the unshadowed main
The venturous bark that Alings
And coral reefs lie bare,
2. Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl !
And every chambered cell,
Before thee lies revealed-