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A Poison Tree

A Poison Tree


I was angry with my friend;

I told my wrath, my wrath did end.

I was angry with my foe:

I told it not, my wrath did grow.


And I water’d it in fears,

Night and morning with my tears:

And I sunned it with smiles,

And with soft deceitful wiles.


And it grew both day and night,

Till it bore an apple bright.

And my foe beheld it shine,

And he knew that it was mine.


And into my garden stole,

When the night had veiled the pole;

In the morning glad I see,

My foe outstretched beneath the tree.


- William Blake


About the author

William Blake (1757 – 1827) was an English Poet, painter and print maker. Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of English poetry. He was born in London. He was a boldly imaginative rebel in both his thought and his art. Some of his famous poems are “The Lamb” and “The Tiger”.


Glossary

wrath (n.) - anger

foe (n.) - enemy

deceitful (adj.) - cunning, treacherous

wiles (n.) - tricks

veiled (v.) – covered


Answer the following questions in a sentence or two.


1. I was angry with my friend

I told my wrath, my wrath did end.


a) Whom does ‘I’ refer to?

Ans: “I” refers to the poet.


b) How did the anger of the poet come to an end?

Ans: The poet told his wrath (anger) to his friend and it came to an end.


2. And I watered it in fears

Night and morning with my tears;


a) What does ‘it’ refer to?

Ans: It refers to the poisonous tree, that is the anger of the poet.


b) How is ‘it’ watered?

Ans: It is watered with tears.


3. In the morning glad I see

My foe outstretched beneath the tree


a) How did the poet feel in the morning?

Ans: The poet was glad to see in the morning.


b) Who is the ‘foe’ referred to here?

Ans: Poet’s enemy is the foe referred here.


c) Why was the ‘foe’ found lying outstretched beneath the tree?

Ans: The foe was dead, so he is found lying outstretched beneath the tree.


4. And it grew both day and night,

Till it bore an apple bright.


a) What does ‘it’ refer to?

Ans: It refers to the poisonous tree.


b) What does ‘apple’ signify?

Ans: Apple signifies the final outcome of wrath as like the fruit which diverted Adam and Eve.


c) What grew both day and night?

Ans: The poisonous tree grew both day and night.


Complete the summary by filling in the given spaces with suitable words.


Once the poet was angry with his friend. He expressed his (i) ____________ and it ended. They became friends. But when he grew angry with his foe, he (ii) ___________ it and allowed his anger to grow. Day and night he watered it with his tears and allowed it to grow. He (iii) _________ his foe with false smiles and cunning tricks. The tree kept growing and yielded a bright apple which (iv) __________ his foe to eat it stealthily during the night. The next morning the poet was happy to see his foe lying (v) _________ under the tree.


Once the poet was angry with his friend. He expressed his wrath (anger) and it ended. They became friends. But when he grew angry with his foe, he did not tell it and allowed his anger to grow. Day and night he watered it with his tears and allowed it to grow. He sunnedhis foe with false smiles and cunning tricks. The tree kept growing and yielded a bright apple which beheld his foe to eat it stealthily during the night. The next morning the poet was happy to see his foe lying outstretched (dead) under the tree.


Figures of Speech


There is alliteration in the line:

And I sunned it with smiles.


The sound /s/ is repeated in the words ‘sunned’ and ‘smiles’. Pick out at least two instances of alliteration from the poem.


Answer:

I was angry with my friend – was & with

And I sunned it with smiles – sunned & smiles

And with soft deceitful wiles – with & wiles

Till it bore an apple bright – bore & bright


Read the following lines from the poem and answer the questions that follow.


1. I was angry with my friend;

I told my wrath, my wrath did end.

I was angry with my foe

I told it not, my wrath did grow.


i. Pick out the rhyming words.

Ans: The rhyming words are “friend”, “end”, “foe”, “grow”.


ii. What is the rhyme scheme of the stanza?

Ans: aabb


iii. Identify the figure of speech in the title of the poem.

Ans: The figure of speech is “Metaphor”


2. And I water'd it in fears

Night and morning with my tears;


i. What figure of speech is used in ‘watered it in fears’?

Ans: The figure of speech is “Metaphor”.

 

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