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How Beautiful is the Rain – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The poet is describing a rain that comes in the middle of the summer. Many of us may not enjoy rain in summer because it ruins our cricket matches and football tournaments. Can you imagine we don’t get rain for three years continuously? Live will be no more possible!

Stanza 1

How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!

Meaning

  • Fiery – Hot
  • Lane – A path between two rows of buildings, etc.

Questions & Answers

  1. Why does the poet say that the rain is beautiful?
    The poet says that the rain is beautiful because it comes in the hot summer and settles the dust in the air and cools the heat.
  2. Which are the places where the rain falls?
    The rain falls in the narrow lanes and the hot streets.
  3. Why does the poet repeat the first line? Is it a poetic device? What is it called?
    The repetition of the line gives a continuous flow that resembled rain. Yes, it is a poetic device. It is called refrain.
  4. What is the rhyme scheme of this stanza?
    ABBAA

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Stanza 2

How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs
How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the overflowing spout! 

Meaning

  • Clatters – Makes a sharp noise
  • Roofs – The upper covering of a house.
  • Tramp – Walk heavily or noisily
  • Hoofs – The foot of a horse
  • Gushes – (Water/liquid) come out in great force
  • Spout (n) – The opening of a tube from which water/liquid gushes out

Questions & Answers

  1. Pick out an example for simile from the above stanza?
    Like the tramp of hoofs.
  2. How do the rain-drops clatter along the roofs?
    Rain drops clatter along the roofs like the tramping sound of the hoofs of a horse.
  3. What does the poet compare the gushing of the rain-water?
    The poet compares the gushing of the rain water with water that runs out of a spout.

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Stanza 3

Across the window-pane
It pours and pours;
And swift and wide,
With a muddy tide,
Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain!

Meaning

  • Window-pane – The glass-pane of a window.
  • Pours – Rains/flows
  • Swift – Quick
  • Tide – Flow / Wave
  • Gutter – A shallow trough fixed beneath the edge of a roof for carrying off rainwater.
  • Roars – Shout

Questions & Answers

  1. Why is the rain-water muddy?
    The rain water is muddy because it collects all the mud and dust that had accumulated in the summer time.
  2. Pick out an example for repetition.
    “It pours and pours.” The effect of a repetition is it presents a feeling of an action happening continuously.
  3. Who welcomes the rain? Why?
    The poet and all those who love a rain in the summer welcome the rain. The rain is welcome because it cools down the hot earth and the hot atmosphere.

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Stanza 4

The sick man from his chamber looks
At the twisted brooks;
He can feel the cool
Breath of each little pool;
His fevered brain
Grows calm again,
And he breathes a blessing on the rain.

Meaning

  • Chamber – Room
  • Brooks – Little rivers
  • Fevered – Ill; sick; not feeling well.
  • Breathe a blessing – Feel like giving a blessing

Questions & Answers

  1. What does the sick man see from his chamber?
    The sick man, from his window, sees brooks that twist and flow.
  2. How does the sick man feel when it rains?
    The sick man can feel the cool air that blows from each little pool around his house. He feels relieved from his pains and sickness. He feels so calm that he blesses the rain.
  3. Why does the sick man bless the rain?
    Before the rain the man was feeling extremely sad and ill. However, when it began to rain, he felt relieved. The cool air and the little brooks removed the sadness in him. He became mentally and physically good. He thanked the rain out of heartfelt gratitude / thankfulness.

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Stanza 5

From the neighboring school
Come the boys,
With more than their wonted noise
And commotion;
And down the wet streets
Sail their mimic fleets,
Till the treacherous pool
Ingulfs them in its whirling
And turbulent ocean.

Meaning

  • Wonted – Usual
  • Commotion – Loud cries and shouts
  • Sail – Move a boat or ship with the help of sails
  • Mimic – Artificial; model
  • Fleets – Ships (here, paper boats)
  • Treacherous – Dangerous
  • Ingulf (engulf) – Sweep over something; surround
  • Whirling – Moving round and round; spin
  • Turbulent – Stormy; in disorder; chaotic

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Stanza 6

In the country, on every side,
Where far and wide,
Like a leopard’s tawny and spotted hide,
Stretches the plain,
To the dry grass and the drier grain
How welcome is the rain!

Meaning

  • Country – Village
  • Far and wide – Stretching across a large area
  • Tawny – Orange/yellow/brown color
  • Hide – The skin of an animal
  • Plain – Flat area of land

Questions & Answers

  1. What does the poet compare the dry grass in the rain? Is this comparison appropriate? Explain.

Stanza 7

In the furrowed land
The toilsome and patient oxen stand;
Lifting the yoke encumbered head,
With their dilated nostrils spread,
They silently inhale
The clover-scented gale,
And the vapors that arise
From the well-watered and smoking soil.
For this rest in the furrow after toil
Their large and lustrous eyes
Seem to thank the Lord,
More than man’s spoken word. 
Near at hand.

Meaning

  • Furrowed land – Fields that are ploughed
  • Toilsome – Hard-working
  • Patient – Having patience
  • Oxen – Male of the cow
  • Yoke – A wooden crosspiece that is fastened (tied) over the necks of two animals (oxen. cows, bulls, buffaloes) and attached to the plough or cart that they are to pull.
  • Encumbered – Burdened
  • Yoke-encumbered head – Head that bends down under the weight of the yoke.
  • Dilated nostrils – Enlarged (the oxen are breathing hard so their nose open wider)
  • They – The oxen
  • Inhale – Breathe in
  • Clover – A plant that bears a kind of pea. (Hindi) तिपतिया घास
  • Gale –  Very strong wind
  • Vapors – Haze; evaporated water
  • Smoking soil – Smoke rises from the earth when it rains in the summer
  • Rest – Take rest
  • Toil – Hard-work
  • Lustrous eyes – Shining

Questions & Answers

  1. What do you mean by ‘furrowed land?’
  2. What has encumbered the oxen’s heads?
  3. What do the oxen do when it rains?
  4. Why do the oxen thank God?
  5. Explain, ‘smoking soil’.
  6. How is man’s thanking God different from that of the oxen’s?

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Stanza 9

Near at hand,
From under the sheltering trees,
The farmer sees
His pastures, and his fields of grain,
As they bend their tops
To the numberless beating drops
Of the incessant rain.

He counts it as no sin
That he sees therein
Only his own thrift and gain.

Meaning

  • Near at hand – Not far away
  • Sheltering trees – Trees under which one can stay away from rain
  • Pastures – Land covered with grass and other low plants suitable for grazing animals, especially cattle or sheep.
  • As they bend their tops
  • To the numberless beating drops – The rain drops cannot be counted
  • Incessant – Continuous
  • Sin – A wrong action that causes trouble to others
  • Therein – In that place
  • Thrift – The quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully.

Questions & Answers

  1. What does the farmer do when it rains?
  2. Why is the farmer delighted?
  3. Who bend their tops under the rain?
  4. Explain, “he counts it as no sin that he sees therein only his own thrift and gain.”

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  • Question of

    How does the poet describe the coming of the boys? Silently Noisily Sadly

    • Silently
    • Noisily
    • Sadly
  • Question of

    Why are the boys making a commotion?

    • They don’t like the rain
    • They are fighting
    • It is raining
  • Question of

    Explain, “And down the wet streets sail their mimic fleets.”

    • They are boarding boats to reach home
    • They are drawing pictures of boats
    • They are drawing pictures of boats
    • They are playing with paper-boats
  • Question of

    What happens to the mimic boats?

    • They are sailing on the road
    • They are washed away in the rain-water
    • They remain on the road

Polonius’s Speech, Hamlet – William Shakespeare

Sample Test Paper – Class 9, English, 2018