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The River

The River


River, river, little river!

Bright you sparkle on your way;

O’er the yellow pebbles dancing,

Through the flowers and foliage glancing,

Like a child at play.


River, river! Swelling river!

On you rush through rough and smooth;

Louder, faster, brawling, leaping.

Over rocks, by rose-banks, sweeping

Like impetuous youth.


River, river! Brimming river!

Broad and deep, and still as time;

Seeming still, yet still in motion,

Tending onward to the ocean,

Just like mortal prime.


River, river! Headlong river!

Down you dash into the sea,

Sea that line hath never sounded,

Sea that sail hath never rounded,

Like eternity.


- Caroline Ann Bowles


About the Poet:

Caroline Ann Bowles (1786-1854) was an English poet and the wife of Robert Southey, the poet laureate of Britain. She was a poet of great merit and produced some of the best work at the threshold of the Victorian era. She wrote various other works including ‘The Little Ladybird’, ‘Chapter on Churchyard’ and ‘Tales of the Factories’.


Glossary

foliage (n): a cluster of leaves, flowers and branches

glancing (adj): touching or hitting something lightly from the side, without causing much damage

swelling (adj): becoming greater in intensity or volume

rose-banks (n): riverbanks where roses (flowers) appear along

impetuous (adj): acting quickly and without thought or care

tending (adj): going in a particular way

headlong (adv): with the head first and the rest of the body following

hath (v): in the past, the third person singular form of the word ‘have’.

eternity (n): life continuing without end after death


Read the following lines and answer the questions given below


1. O’er the yellow pebbles dancing,

Through the flowers and foliage glancing


a) How does the river flow?

Ans: The river flows over the yellow pebbles dancing through the flowers and leaves like a child in a playful manner.


b) What is meant by ‘foliage’?

Ans: Foliage means a cluster of leaves, flowers and branches which the river glances while flowing.


2. River, river! Swelling river!

On you rush through rough and smooth;


a) Why does the poet mention the river to be swelling?

Ans: Since the river is increasing in size as it grows (flows) like a youth, it is mentioned to be swelling.


b) What are the surfaces the river flow through?

Ans: The river flows through rough and smooth surfaces.


3. Over rocks, by rose-banks, sweeping

Like impetuous youth.


a) Where does the rose grow?

Ans: The roses grows on the banks of the rivers, called rose-banks.


b) Which stage of man is compared here?

Ans: Youth stage is compared here.


4. Broad and deep, and still as time; Seeming still, yet still in motion.


a) What is broad and deep?

Ans: The river is broad and deep.


b) Is the time still?

Ans: Yes, the time is still.


5. Tending onward to the ocean, Just like mortal prime.


a) Where is the river flowing to?

Ans: The river is flowing towards the ocean.


b) What does the poet mean by ‘mortal prime’?

Ans: Mortal Prime means, the life of human after death, eternal life.


Epithet is an adjective or phrase expressing a quality or attribute regarded as characteristic of the person or the thing mentioned.

(e.g.) Little river.


Imagery is the name given to the elements in a poem that sparks the senses. It need not be only visual, it can relate any of the five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell)

(e.g.) yellow pebbles.


Read the following lines and answer the questions


1. Bright you sparkle on your way;

O’er the yellow pebbles dancing,

Through the flowers and foliage glancing,

Like a child at play.


Pick out the rhyming words.

Ans: way, dancing, glancing, play – a b b a (Rhyme scheme)


2. Mention the rhyme scheme of the poem.

Ans: a b b a


3. Through the flowers and foliage glancing,

Like a child at play.

Mention the figure speech used in the above line. Give various other examples from the poem.

Ans: The figures of speech is simile.


Examples:

Like impetuous youth

Just like mortal prime

Still as time

Like eternity


4. Seeming still, yet still in motion


a. Pick out the words in alliteration from the above line

Ans: seeming, still, still


b. Identify other examples from the poem for alliteration.


Answer:

River, river, little river

Through the flowers and foliage glancing

On you rush through rough and smooth

Over rocks, by rose-banks, sweeping

Down you dash into the sea

The sea that line hath never sounded

The sea that sail hath never rounded


5. Pick out the examples for epithet from the poem.

Ans: Swelling river, Brimming river, Mortal prime, Impetuous youth.


6. Pick out the examples for imagery from the poem.

Answer:

Through the flowers and foliage glancing.

On you rush through rough and smooth

Louder, faster, brawling leaping

Broad and deep and still

Seeming still, yet still in motion

By rose – banks.


Based on your understanding of the poem, complete the summary of the poem by choosing the words/phrases given below.


prime phase, the yellow pebbles, motionless, stages of human life, sweeping, child, journey, reckless youth.


In the poem 'The River', the poet compares the flow of the river with different__________________. The first stanza explains how the sparkling river goes dancing over _______________ and glancing through the flowers and leaves. These acts of the river is compared to a curious and innocent _______ at play. The second stanza compares the river to a _______________ who goes through rough and smooth patches of life. Like a youth, here the river becomes louder, faster and ___________ everything all along the way. In the third stanza, the river becomes like a hard working man who is at the _____________ of the life. Here the deep and broad river seems ____________ but it keeps moving towards the sea like a matured man who silently marches towards the goal. In the last stanza the long ___________ of the river reaches the endless sea like a human life attains eternity.


Answer:


In the poem 'The River', the poet compares the flow of the river with different stages of human life. The first stanza explains how the sparkling river goes dancing over the yellow pebblesand glancing through the flowers and leaves. These acts of the river is compared to a curious and innocent child at play. The second stanza compares the river to a reckless youth who goes through rough and smooth patches of life. Like a youth, here the river becomes louder, faster and sweeping everything all along the way. In the third stanza, the river becomes like a hard working man who is at the prime phase of the life. Here the deep and broad river seems motionless but it keeps moving towards the sea like a matured man who silently marches towards the goal. In the last stanza the long journey of the river reaches the endless sea like a human life attains eternity.


 

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