1.1 Past, Present, Future
Tell me, tell me, smiling child,
What the past is like to thee?
‘An Autumn evening soft and mild
With a wind that sighs mournfully.’
Tell me, what is the present hour?
‘A green and flowery spray
Where a young bird sits gathering its power
To mount and fly away.’
And what is the future, happy one?
‘A sea beneath a cloudless sun;
A mighty, glorious, dazzling sea
Stretching into infinity.’
– Emily Bronte
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1. Read the poem aloud using proper rhythm and intonation.
2. Link the items in the three columns properly
The past – A soft and mild autumn evening – A pleasant time which has ended.
The present time – A green and flowery spray where a young bird sits – A time full of life, in which you gather strength.
The future – A sea beneath a cloudless sea – An exciting, thrilling time which has no end.
3. Find the meaning of the following words.
thee mournfully spray mighty
(for the answers please watch the video on our Youtube channel at www.jkacademypro.com)
4. Write the adjectives that are used to describe the following. evening spray sea
Ans: evening – soft and mild
spray – flowery
sea – mighty, glorious, dazzling
5. Write one line about each of the following with the help of the poem.
(i) wind in the autumn evening (ii) young bird on the spray (iii) the sea
Ans (i) wind in the autumn evening
The wind in the autumn evening sighs mournfully .
(ii) young bird on the spray
The young bird on the spray sits there gathering all its
strength to fly away.
(iii) the sea – The mighty, glorious, dazzling sea stretches beyond
infinity beneath the cloudless sun.
6. Language Study :
A simile is an imaginative comparison of two different things which have something in common. A simile always includes the words ‘as’ or ‘like’.
For example : as tall as a tree, as lovely as a flower
A metaphor :
A metaphor is an imaginative expression that refers to someone/something as another person/thing. It shows that the person or thing has some quality of that other person or thing. The words ‘as’ or ‘like’ are not used in a metaphor.
For example : He is a gem of a person. Time is money. Books are our friends. The clouds are white sheep.
There are three metaphors in the poem. Can you find them?
(a) The past is the autumn evening that is soft and mild.
(b) The present hour is a green and flowery spray.
(c) The future is the sea beneath the cloudless sun.
Q List out rhyming words from the poem.
Ans. child – mild; thee – mournfully; hour – power; spray – away;
Answer the following questions:
Q1. What question does the poetess put forward to the little child?
The poetess is asking the child – “What the past is like to thee?”
Q2. Is the child happy or sad? How do you know?
The child is happy. We know this because the poetess has described him as a ‘smiling child’.
Q3. How does the child describe its past?
The child says that, its past is like the autumn evening that is soft and mild.
Q4. What are autumn and wind compared to?
The autumn and wind are compared to the child’s past.
Q5. What does the wind do?
The wind sighs mournfully.
Q6. Why does the child say that the wind is sighing mournfully?
When the wind blows it makes a sound that resembles the sound of someone crying.
Q7. What meaning can we derive from the child’s comparison of his past to the autumn?
Just like the autumn evening which was soft and mild the child’s past was very gentle as he was growing up and gaining various experiences. He has fond memories of his past that helped him grow from a child to a young adult.
Q8. What does the child want to convey when it compares the wind to its past?
The child wants to convey that just like the wind’s mournful sighs in the midst of a soft and mild autumn evening, the child’s past also had sad occasions in the midst of happy experiences, as he was growing up from a child to a young adult.
Q9. To which time period in a person’s life can we relate this stanza to?
We can relate this stanza to childhood, which is as mild and gentle as the autumn evening.
Q10. Which season is mentioned in the 1st stanza?
The autumn season is mentioned in the 1st stanza.
Q11. What is the rhyming scheme in the 1st stanza?
Q1. What does the poetess wants to know in the 2nd stanza?
The poetess wants to know how is the child’s present time.
Q2. What is the child comparing its present hour to?
The child is comparing its present hour to the spring season, when the trees have new leaves and new blossoms.
Q3. What is the young bird doing?
The young bird is perched on a tree and is gathering all its strength to get ready and fly away.
Q4. Which season can we relate this stanza to? Why?
We can relate this stanza to the spring season. Because the poetess has mentioned ‘a green and flowery spray’, which reminds of the spring season when the trees have new leaves and flowers in them.
Q5. What does the phrase ‘gathering its power’ mean?
The phrase ‘gathering strength’ means gaining all the courage and strength to be able to flap one’s wings and fly away.
Q6. To which time period in a person’s life can we relate this stanza to?
We can relate this stanza to a young adult who is ready to explore the world.
Q7. Why is the boy comparing his present time to the spring season?
During the spring season the trees have new leaves and flowers on them, in the same way the child is now a young adult who has gained new experiences.
Q8. Why is the child comparing its present hour to the young bird?
The young bird has grown new feathers on its wings and is now gathering all its strength to get ready to fly into the world, so also the child is now a young adult who has gained new experiences and is ready to go out into the world to explore it.
Q9. Write the rhyming words from this stanza?
hour – power; spray – away
Q1. What does the poetess want to know from the child?
The poetess wants to know how the child sees its future to be.
Q2. What does the child want to be?
The child wants to be a sea that is beneath a cloudless sun.
Q3. How does the poetess address the child?
The poetess calls the child ‘happy one’.
Q4. Which season can we relate this stanza to? Why?
We can relate this stanza to the summer season because there are no clouds and the sun is out.
Q5. How does the child describe the sea?
The child describes the sea to be mighty, glorious and dazzling as well as the one that is stretching endlessly.
Q6. Why is the child comparing its future to the sea?
Just like the sea which is so mighty, glorious and dazzling so also the child wishes its future to be bright and wants to shine into the world i.e. wants to be successful in all that it would do. And just like the sea stretches into infinity, so also the child wants its future to be limitless with endless opportunities.
Q7. List out the adjectives used in this stanza.
cloudless, mighty, glorious, dazzling.
Q8. What is the rhyming scheme of this stanza?
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For a complete worksheet : Past Present Future