Unit Six Section D


"My Love Is Like a Red Rose"
by Robert Burns

The lyric poems of Robert Burns celebrate love and nature. Many of his folk songs, including "Auld Lang Syne, " are still sung today. As you read this poem, look for its musical qualities.

O my love's like a red, red rose,

That's newly sprung in June;
O my love's like the melodie
That's sweetly played in tune.

As fair art thou, my bonie lass,

So deep in love am I;
And I will love thee still, my dear,
Till a' the seas gang dry.

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear,

And the rocks melt wi' the sun;
I will luve thee still my dear,
While the sands o' life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only love,

And fare the weel, a while!
And I will come again, my love,
Tho' it were ten thousand mile!
Developing Comprehension Skills

1. To what two things does the speaker compare love in the first stanza?
2. How much does the speaker say he loves this lady? How long does he say he will love her?
3. Why is the speaker telling these things to his love? What is about to happen?
4. Do you think the speaker's words would convince his lady of his love?

"To a Blockhead" by Alexander Pope

Epigrams reached the peak of their popularity during the eighteenth century. What point does Alexander Pope make in this humorous statement to a "blockhead"?

You beat your pate, and trust that wit will come:
Knock as you please, there's nobody at home.

Developing Comprehension Skills

1. What type of person might the speaker be addressing in this epigram?
2. A "pate" is defined as the top of a person's head. According to Pope, what does a "blockhead" think will happen; if he "beats his pate"?
3. What does the speaker mean when he says, "'there's nobody at home"?
4. Do you think this epigram is humorous, or is it cruel? Explain your answer?

"Epigrams" by Alexander Pope

Alexander Pope was a master of epigrams. What ideas does Pope express with these witty statements? Does the advice in each one still apply today?

Tis education forms the common mind:
just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined.
”Moral Essays”, Epistle 1

For fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
“An Essay on Criticism”, Part 3

Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside.
“An Essay on Criticism”, Part 11

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blest.
“An Essay on Man:”, Epistle 1

All nature is but art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony not understood;
All partial evil, universal good;
And spite of pride, in erring reason's spite,
One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right.
“An Essay on Man”, Epistle 1

A wit's a feather, and a chief a rod;
An honest man's the noblest work of God.
“An Essay on Man”, Epistle IV

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow drafts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
“An Essay on Criticism”, Part 11
(Pierian spring, a spring in Macedonia. According
to legend, drinking from it inspired learning.)

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of mankind is man.
“An Essay on Man”, Epistle 11

To err is human, to forgive, divine.
“An Essay on Criticism”, Part 11

Developing Comprehension Skills

1. in epigram 1, why does Pope say that education is so important?
2. In epigram 2, what do "fools" do?
3. In epigram 3, what does Pope say about trying new ideas and giving up old ideas? What reasons do you think he might have for saying this? Do you agree with his advice? Why or why not?
4. In epigram 5, what comment does Pope make about the confusing things in life? How does he feel we should react to them?
5. According to Pope, should we ever try to understand God? If not., what should we study?

"To Hayley" by William Blake

Many of William Blake's poems reflect the secret inner thoughts of people. As you read this poem, look for the "thought" that is often too difficult to speak aloud.

Thy friendship oft has made my heart to ache:
Do be my enemy-for friendship's sake.

Developing Comprehension Skills

1. How has his friendship with Hayley often caused the speaker to feel? What types of things may have caused this feeling?
2. What does the speaker ask Hayley to do about their friendship?
3. What sort of "friend" might Hayley be to the speaker?
4. Have you ever had a friendship similar to the one in this poem? According to your experience, is such friendship worthwhile? Why or why not?

"A Poison Tree" by William Blake

Human realtionships are often difficult. These relationships can be easily poisoned. What does the speaker of the poem think is the most destructive “poison”?

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 waterd it in fears,
Night & 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 veild the pole;
In the morning glad I see;
My foe outstretchd beneath the tree.

Developing Comprehension Skills

1. How did the speaker deal with his anger toward his friend?
2. How did the speaker handle his anger with his enemy?
3. How did the speaker hide his wrath from his foe? Do you think his enemy ever knew how he felt?
4. What happened to his enemy? How did the speaker feel about this?
5. The speaker seems pleased with the result of his actions. Do you think it is ever good to let anger grow like this? Why or why not?

"Never Seek to Tell Thy Love" by William Blake

Is it sometimes better to keep feelings of love to ourselves? Would the speaker in this poem have been better off by saying nothing?

Never seek to tell thy love,

Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind doth move
Silently, invisibly.

I told my love, I told my love,

I told her all my heart,
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears.
Ah! she did depart!

Soon after she was gone from me,

A traveller came by,
Silently, invisibly:
He took her with a sigh.
Developing Comprehension Skills

1. What advice does the speaker give in the first stanza? What is "Love that never told can be"?
2 .What did the speaker do in the second stanza of the poem? What was the result of his action?
3. Does the speaker have a chance to regain his lost love? Why or why not?
4. Do you think the speaker is giving good advice to the reader? Can you remember a time when you or someone you know might have benefited from this advice? Explain your answer.

"To See a World" by William Blake

The simplest things in life sometimes provide the most wonder. What can a person miss by taking nature for granted?

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

Developing Comprehension Skills

1. What does the speaker say can be seen "in a grain of sand"?
2. What does the speaker see "in a wild flower"?
3. Infinity means "an endless or unlimited space or distance." How can infinity be held in your hand? How can eternity, or timeless- ness, be found in an hour?
4. What type of person might be the most likely to see the wonders of nature? the least likely? Explain your answer.