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Speak gently! – It is better far

To rule by love, than fear

Speak gently – let not harsh words mar

The good we might do here!

Speak gently! – Love doth whisper low

The vows that true hearts bind;

And gently Friendship’s accents flow;

Affection’s voice is kind.

Speak gently to the little child!

Its love be sure to gain;

Teach it in accents soft and mild:-

It may not long remain.

Speak gently to the young, for they

Will have enough to bear –

Pass through this life as best they may,

‘T is full of anxious care!

Speak gently to the aged one,

Grieve not the care-worn heart;

The sands of life are nearly run,

Let such in peace depart!

Speak gently, kindly, to the poor;

Let no harsh tone be heard;

They have enough they must endure,

Without an unkind word!

Speak gently to the erring – know,

They may have toiled in vain;

Perchance unkindness made them so;

Oh, win them back again!

Speak gently! – He who gave his life

To bend man’s stubborn will,

When elements were in fierce strife,

Said to them, ‘Peace, be still.’

Speak gently! – ’tis a little thing

Dropped in the heart’s deep well;

The good, the joy, which it may bring,

Eternity shall tell.

- David Bates


harsh - rough

doth - does

whisper - low voice

accents - emphasise

anxious - feeling worried or showing worry

grieve - be sorrowful

depart - leave/go

endure - suffer patiently

toiled - worked hard

vain - producing no results

stubborn - one refusing to change one’s opinion

strife - disagreement

eternity - endless, no end

Answer the following questions in a sentence or two.

1. Why should we speak gently?

Ans: We must speak gently to win the love of others.

2. What do you infer about speaking with others from this poem?

Ans: From this poem, we infer to speak gently with others.

3. What are the disadvantages of speaking harshly?

Ans: Speaking harshly to people will deprive us of all the good we do.

4. Why does the poet tell us to speak gently to young children?

Ans: We need to speak gently to the young children so as to gain their love.

5. How should you speak with old people?

Ans: We should speak gently to the aged one.

Read the poem and fill in the blanks with the correct option.

soft   vain   fear  joy love   heard   toiled  mild good   sand   life  harsh

1. It is better far to rule by love, than fear.

2. Teach it in accents soft and mild.

3. Let no harsh tone be heard.

4. They may have toiled in vain.

5. The good, the joy, which it may bring.

6. The sands of life are nearly run.

Pick out the words which rhyme with the given words

1. far – mar

2. fear – here

3. low – flow

4. kind – bind

5. remain – gain

6. they – may

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