This poem traces the life of a brook or a small stream as it emerges from the mountaintop and flows down the hills and across valleys to empty into the river. The brook itself is the narrator and it describes its journey of life in its own narration. On a deeper level the poet uses the brook to draw parallel with the life of man. Like the brook, man is energetic, lively and moves swiftly when he is young but slows down later on in life just like the brook when it empties into the river. The energetic movement of the brook in the initial stage is described by the poet with the use of words like ‘chatter’ , babble , ‘sharps’ and ‘trebles’ .This changes to words like ‘steal’ ,’gloom’, glide’ ’murmur’ and ‘loiter’ to express the slower movement towards the end of its journey. As it slows down it also deposits the ‘shingle’, sand and silt that it has brought down from the mountains and hills during its journey. it passes through various landforms, forests and fields that are either fertile or fallow (uncultivated). It gets angry when it makes many curves on its banks and fallow fields. It also passes by grassy lawns and flower – filled gardens where hazel and ‘forget-me-not’ trees grow. It does not follow a single path but meanderers on around rocks and boulders without letting anything stop its path. Similarly a man also is faced with many challenges in life and has to go on regardless, finding new paths.
Through this poem the poet points to the eternal nature of the brook that outlives man. Men are born and they die but the brook never ceases to exist. It continues to flow its source to the river eternally.
TEXTUAL COMPREHENSION :
Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow each:
I come from haunts of coot and herm ;
I make a sudden sally
And sparkle out among the fern,
To bicker down the valley.
(i) Who is ‘I’ here in the first line ?
(ii) How does ‘I’ come and from where?
(iii) What makes the poet use ‘bicker’ for the flow of water?
Ans (i) ‘I’ here in the first line is the brook.
(ii) The brook makes a sudden rush from the place of its birth.
(iii) The poet wants to lend a quarrelsome aspect to the brook when it flows noisily down a valley.
I chatter over stony ways,
In little sharps and trebles,
I bubble into eddying bays,
I bubble on the pebbles.
- How does the brook flow over stony ways?
- What happens to the brook when it joins eddying bays?
- What makes the brook babble on the pebbles?
Ans: (i) The brook flows over stony ways with a ‘noise’. This ‘noise’ is denoted by The word‘ chatter’.
(ii) It bubbles while it joins eddying bays. Its water moves in a spirl manner.
(iii) The pebbles. Cause a certain disturbance into the path of the brook Due to that it babbles over such a path.
I steal by lawns and grassy plots,
I slide by hazel covers;
I move the sweet forget-me-nots
That grow for happy lovers.
- What does the poet wish to convey by using the words ‘steal’ and ‘slide’?
- What place doest the brook pass by?
- What metaphorical meaning does the poet lend to the brook’s moving the sweet forget-me-nots?
Ans: (i) The poet uses the terms ‘steal’ and ‘slide’ to express the quieter manifestation of the brook; it also describes the smooth movement of the brook when it passes by the side of the lawns and grassy plots.
(ii) It passes by lawns, grassy plots, and woods where hazel trees grow and bushes bearing forget-me-nots.
(iii) The metaphorical meaning is that the lovers meet her on its bank where forget-me-nots. Blossom in plenty. The lovers pluck them sitting on its bank. They throw the petals into it.
I murmur under moon and stars
In brambly wilderness;
I linger by my shingly bars;
I loiter round my cresses.
- Why does the poet say that the brook ‘murmurs’?
- Why does the brook ‘linger’ now?
- What makes the brook ‘loiter’?
Ans : (i) The poet say so because the brook flows through wilderness, which has thorny bushes.
(ii) The brook now ‘lingers’ now because there are shingles on its bed. These create little obstruction in its flow.
(iii) The cresses i.e. the pungent leaved cabbage-like wild growth, make the flow of the brook slow.
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.
- Who does ‘I’ refer to ? How does ‘I’ chatter?
- Why has the poet used the word ‘brimming?
- Explain the last two lines of the stanza.
Ans:(i) ‘I’ refers to the personified brook. It chatters when its water flows over the stony bed.
(ii) The poet has used the word ‘brimming’ to denote the idea of the water full to the brim. It means the water of the river flows touching its banks.
(iii) The last two lines mean that the brook is that the brook is permanent. It is immortal. It has flown in the past, flows in the present and shall flow in the future, men are mortal but the brook is perennial.
TEXTUAL QUESTIONS :
How does the poet use the brook to draw a parallel with the life of a man ?
Ans. This poem traces the life of a brook or a small stream as it emerges from the Mountaintop and flows down the hills and across valleys to empty into the river. On a Deeper level the post uses the brook to draw a parallel with the life of a man. Like the Brook, man is energetic, lively and moves swiftly when he is young. Human being are Helpers , supporters as well as life givers. So is the brook. In old age at the end of their Life, men are wish, silent and deep in thought and they slow down. So does the brook Before it empties into the river.
Describe the journey of the brook as given in the poem.
Ans. The brook springs from a place, which is visited by coot and hern. It emerges suddenly and flows down the valley. It creates many noises when if flows on stony paths. The brook moves in a zigzag manner. Many blossoms sell on its surface of water. The water is so transparent that its bottom is clearly seen. The brook takes the sweet forget-me-not flowersfor happy lovers. The sunbeam dances over its surface against the sandy Shallows. When the brook passes in thorny wilderness at night, it murmurs. in such strange places, it flows very slowly. It then flows to Join the brimming river.