Std 7 English 3.4 The Brook – questions and answers

The Brook – by Alfred Lord Tennyson

I come from haunts of coot and hern,
I make a sudden sally
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down a valley.

By thirty hills I hurry down,
Or slip between the ridges,
By twenty thorpes, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.

Till last by Philip’s farm I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I babble on the pebbles.

With many a curve my banks I fret
By many a field and fallow,
And many a fairy foreland set
With willow-weed and mallow.

I chatter, chatter, as I flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I wind about, and in and out,
With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling,

And here and there a foamy flake
Upon me, as I travel
With many a silvery waterbreak
Above the golden gravel,

And draw them all along, and flow
To join the brimming river
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,
Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeam dance
Against my sandy shallows.

I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wildernesses;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses;

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.

Meanings:

haunt: a place that one visits often, where one spends a lot of time.

coot and hern: coot and hern are both water birds.

hern stands for the common european heron.

sally: a quick journey

sparkle: to shine brightly.

fern: a green plant with long stems, feathery leaves and no flowers.bicker : run noisily

bicker: to argue about unimportant matters; here, to run noisily.

ridge: a high edge along a mountain.

thorpe: old english word for a village

brimming: full of something

chatter: to make a noise as if talking very fast.

sharps and trebles: musical sounds

eddying: moving fast in circles

bay: a part of the coast where the land curves in so that the sea is surrounded by land on three sides

babble: to make a noise as if talking too much.

pebbles: small stones

fret: wear out, gnaw

fallow: land that is not planted with crops.

fairy foreland: here, it refers to a scenic place that looks like an entrace to fairyland.

willow-weed: a tree that grows near water and has long, thin branches that hang down.

mallow: a plant with purple flowers

blossom: flower

lusty: healthy.

trout: a brown fish that lives in rivers or lakes

grayling: a freshwater fish with a long fin

foamy: full of a mass of very small bubbles formed on the surface of a liquid.

flake : a small thin piece of something.

gravel: small rounded stones, often mixed with sand

gloom : to move in dark places.

skimming swallows: swallows that touch the brook lightly and quickly as they fly over it.

netted: like a net.

shallows: places that have only a short distance from top to bottom.

murmur: to make a soun as if speaking very quietly.

brambly: full of brambles – wild bushes with thorns

wilderness: an area of land that has not been cultivated.

linger: to take a long time to leave or disappear.

shingly: full of shingles, that is, small rounded pebbles or stones

bar: barrier, obstacle

loiter: to move slowly and aimlessly.

cress: small plant

ENGLISH WORKSHOP

1. Read the poem aloud with proper pace and rhythm.

2. Find the meaning of the following words or phrases:

1. ridges – high edges along a mountain

2. brimming – full of something

3. eddying – moving fast in circles

4. babble – to make a noise as if talking too much

5. fallow – land that is not planted with crops

6. trout – a brown fish that lives in rivers or lakes

7. netted – like a net.

3. Answer the following:

(1) Who is the speaker in this poem?

Ans. The speaker in this poem is the brook.

(2) Which lines are repeated in the poem? What do they mean?

Ans. The lines that are repeated iin the poem are – ‘For men may come and men may go, but I go on forever. Through these lines the brook is saying that men are transient but it is immortal.

(3) Where does the brook join the river?

Ans. Te brrok joins the river near Philip’s farm.

(4) Mention the various places that the brook flows past.

Ans. The brook flows past the haunts of coots and herns, among the fern, down the valley, between the ridges, thorpes, town, bridges and Philip’s farm.

(5) Often the brook speaks of itself as if it is human. For example, ‘I bicker down a valley.’ Find two other examples of the human activities of the brook.

Ans.  ‘I chatter among stony ways.’ ‘I wind about, and in and out.’

4. Spot and write any three alliterative phrases or sentences from the poem. (Alliterative phrases/sentences are those in which the same sound is repeated.)

Ans. 1) By twenty thorpes, a little town,

2) An half a hundred bridges.

3)  By many a field and fallow

4) And here and there a foamy flake

5) Above the golden gravel

6) I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance.

5. List the prepositions you find in this poem.

Ans. from, of, among, down, between, by, over, into, on, with, upon, above, for, against, under, round.

6. List the phrases which have the expression ‘many a ’.

Ans. Ans. many a curve; many a field and fallow; many a fairy foreland; many a silvery waterbreak.

7. The poet uses words to create pictures or ‘images’ in the reader’s mind. For example, ‘ And sparkle out among the fern.’ Write down other lines that create images or pictures in your mind. (Any 3)

Ans. 1. I bubble into eddying bays, I babble on the pebbles.

2. I wind about, and in and out, With here a blossom sailing,

3. I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance, Among my skimming swallows;

8. Write a short autobiography of a brook. (20 to 30 lines)

9. Which other things in nature can say – ‘For men may come and men may go, But I go on for ever.’

Ans. The earth, sun, stars, sky, seas and oceans, mountains, nature, etc.

10. Use the internet, your school library or other sources for the following activities.

(1) Try to find other nature poems.

Ans.   My Heart Leaps Up

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

– William Wordsworth

(2) Draw or collect landscapes that can be used as illustrations for this poem.

Extra Questions.

1.  Who is the speaker of the poem?

The brook itself is the speaker of the poem

2.  From where does the brook start its journey? Or. From where does the brook come?

The brook starts its journey from the dwelling place of birds such as the coot and the hern (heron).

3.  How does the brook move?

The brook starts out from the dwelling place of birds such as the coot and the hern (heron). It makes a sudden rush as it flows out.

4. What makes the brook sparkle?

The presence of sunlight causes the brook’s water to sparkle as it flows among the fern.

5.  Why does the brook say that it bickers down the valley?

The brook continues its journey by flowing down a valley. While doing so, the sound of the flowing brook resembles that of people quarrelling. Hence the phrase, ‘bicker down a valley’.

6.  Where does the brook hurry down?

The brook hurries down thirty hills.

7. Who’s farm does the brook pass by?

The brook passes by Phillip’s farm.

8. Describe the brook’s journey before it flows through Phillip’s farm?

The brook starts out from the dwelling place of birds such as the coot and the hern (heron). It makes a sudden rush as it flows out. It then continues its journey by flowing down a valley. The brook flows down along hills. Sometimes, it also glides between long and narrow hill ranges, called ridges. Between two small towns, the brook passes several thorpes and a large number of bridges. Finally, the brook passes Philip’s farm and flows into the overflowing river.

9. Where does the brook go after passing through Phillip’s farm?

After passing through Phillip’s farm the brook flows into the overflowing river.

10. Why does the brook say, ‘For men may come and men may go, But I go on forever. ‘
The brook states that men are transient. They come and go over time. But it outlives men and continues forever.

11. Where does the brook chatter?

As the brook flows over stony paths, its water makes a chattering sound.

12. How does the brook chatter?

The brook chatters in sharps and trebles.

13. What does the brook do when it flows over stony ways?

As the brook flows over stony paths, its water makes a chattering sound.

14. To what is the brook’s chattering compared to?

The brook chatters with a high pitched sound which is compared to the high pitched sounds of the musical notes of sharps and trebles.

15. Where does the brook bubble? Why?

The brook bubbles into eddying bays. As water flows past an obstacle, a reverse motion is created that leads to swirling. These are known as eddies. As a result a lot of bubbles are also formed.

16. Where does the brook babble? Why?

The brook babbles on the pebbles. As the brook flows over pebbles, the sound it makes is similar to that made while talking rapidly. Hence the phrase, ‘babble on the pebbles’.

17. Why does the brook fret?

‘Fret’ means ‘fuss’ or ‘worry’. The brook forms so many curves, that it seems as if it is constantly troubling its banks to change shape.

18. What are the different things found in the brook?

An occasional flower can be seen on its surface. The floating blossom appears to be sailing on the brook. The brook is also home to freshwater fish such as trout and grayling.

19. Why does the poet call the trot lusty?

The trout is a vigorous and energetic fish. Hence Tennyson calls it ‘lusty’.

20. Why does the brook have a foamy flake?

Due to occasional turbulent flow, flakes of foam are produced, which float on the flowing brook.

21. Why does the poet call the waterbreak silvery and the gravel golden?

Waterbreaks are breaks on the brook’s surface caused by unevenness of its bed. These waterbreaks reflect the sun that makes them appear silver. Gravel is usually of a brownish yellow hue. Hence the phrase, ‘golden gravel’.

22. What does the brook do as it joins the brimming river?

The brook chatters as it joins the brimming river.

23. How does the brook flow among the skimming swallows?

The brook slips, slides, glooms and glances among the skimming swallows.

24. Why according to the poet are the swallows skimming?

Swallows often hunt for insects on the water surface. They skim the water surface to capture the insects. The brook glides among these ‘skimming swallows’.

25. What does the poem mean by the phrase, ‘I make the netted sunbeam dance.’?  

The sunlight, when it passes through the leaves and branches, creates an effect of light and shadow. It looks like a net in which sunlight is trapped. This is what the netted sunbeam is. When the waves occur in the brook, it creates an effect which makes the sunbeam look as if it is dancing.

26. What does the poet mean by sandy shallows?

Sandy shallows refer to the shallow part of the brook that contains a lot of deposited sand and silt. As the brook moves, the ‘netted sunbeam’ falling on the shallow bed appears to dance.

27. Why does the poet refer to the wilderness as brambly?

Wilderness refers to a wild and uninhabited region. Brambles are often found in such places. Hence Tennyson refers to such regions as ‘brambly wildernesses’

28. Why does the brook murmur under moon and stars?

In quiet nights, as the brook passes over numerous pebbles and uneven land, it makes a certain sound. In the silent wilderness such sounds can be clearly heard. The sound reminds one of murmuring. It is as if the brook is talking to itself.

29. Where is the brook lingering and loitering?

The brook lingers by its shingly bars and it loiters around the water cresses that grow near the edge of the brook.

30. From where does the brook flow before joining the brimming river?

The brook leaves the wilderness, the ‘shingly bars’ and the watercress behind and flows in graceful curves before joining the brimming river.

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