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A Sea of Foliage – Toru Dutt

Toru Dutt

  • Place of Birth – Calcutta/Kolkata
  • Span – 1856 – 1877, 21 years
  • Father & Mother – Govin Chunder Dutt and Kshetramoni
  • Family – Rambagan Dutt family

Bit/Bits

  • A sea of foliage is poem written by Toru Dutt to express the beauty of the garden.
  • She says that her garden is filled with leaves of the plants but not like any ordinary garden.
  • It is of different colors of leaves and flowers.

Stanza 1

A sea of foliage girds our garden round,
But not a sea of dull unvaried green,
Sharp contrasts of all colors here are seen;
The light-green graceful tamarinds abound
Amid the mango clumps of green profound,
And palms arise, like pillars gray, between;
And o’er the quiet pools the seemuls lean,
Red-red, and startling like a trumpet’s sound.

Meanings

  • Girds – Surrounds
  • Unvaried – monotonous
  • Tamarinds – Hindi – Imli
  • Abound – Exist; Grow
  • Amid – In the midst of
  • Clump – Clusters
  • Profound – Dark and deep
  • Seemuls – Silk-cotton tree with maroon flowers
  • Startling – Sound that gives a tremor
  • Trumpet – A loud musical instrument

Questions

  1. What girds the poet’s garden?
    The poet’s garden is bordered by a large number of trees with their bright colored foliage. The leaves of these trees are so much colorful that there are no dull colors among them.
  2. What makes the poet’s garden attractive?
    The poet’s garden is made attractive by the presence of various trees and their bright colored leaves. There are tamarinds, bright green mangoes, grey palms, seemul trees with their flowers
  3. Where do tamarinds grow? What makes the tamarinds and clump of mangoes look the perfect match?
  4. What startle the quiet pool?
    The sound of the military trumpet startles the peace of the pool.

Stanza 2

But nothing can be lovelier than the ranges
Of bamboos to the eastward, when the moon
Looks through their gaps, and the white lotus changes
Into a cup of silver. One might swoon
Drunken with beauty then, or gaze and gaze
On a primeval Eden, in amaze.

Meanings

  • Ranges of bamboos – Lines of bamboo trees
  • Swoon – Feel dizzy; intoxicated
  • Gaze – Look in amazement/happiness
  • Primeval – Ancient
  • Eden – The garden where God created Adam and Eve

Questions & Answers

  1. What offer the loveliest picture around the garden? When do they appear at the height of their beauty?
    But nothing can be lovelier than the ranges of bamboos to the eastward, when the moon looks through their gaps.
  2. and the white lotus changes into a cup of silver.
  3. One might swoon drunken with beauty then, or gaze and gaze
  4. What does the poet mean by primeval Eden?
    On a primeval Eden, in amaze.

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