CBSE Class 9 English Palanquin Bearers Notes

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SUMMARY :

This poem, by Sarojini Naidu, is about an age-old custom when brides and womenOf high birth were carried in a palanquin. In the poem, the palanquin bearers are carry-Ing a beautiful lady. The poetess has exquisitely depicted the movement of the palanquin And the glowing beauty of the lady.She begins with a description of a gently swaying palanquin moving in rhythm to theSong of the bearers, who are very careful, as they want to protect the lady from anyjerky Movements. She compares the movement first to the swaying of a flower movingin the wind as the palanquin moves in tune with the song that the bearers arehumming.She feels that they are moving like birds that hardly touch the surface of the stream, asthey hardly appear to touch the road. The lady can hardly feel that she is being carriedin mid-air by the palanquin bearers. The overall picture looks as if an extremelyprecious jewel is being carried with soft hands. For the bearers, the palanquin is like apearl and the handles are like the string on which she is hanging. The link between thebearers and the passenger (lady/maiden) is as essential as the string is essential forthe pearl. The bearers are also proud of having the lady and all this makes themhappy (gaily)The poetess then describes the elegant beauty of the lady/palanquin by comparingher/it First to the starlight that shines though a dewdrop at down and than to thedancing beam of light reflected on the moving waves of a river. The palanquin by thebearers as the tear the slowly rolls down the bride’s cheek. The rhyme scheme used in this poem is ‘aabbcc’

TEXTUAL COMPREHENSION :

Read the extract given below and answer the following questions :

Gaily, O gaily we glide and we sing ,

We bear her along like a pearl on a string.

Softly, O softly we bear her along ,

She hangs like a star in the dew of our song:

  • What is the emotion expressed by the poet in the line “We bear her along like peartof string”?
  • Explain the image expressed in the line “We bear her along like a peart of string”.
  • Do the palanquin bearers consider the maiden to be burden ? Why /Why not ?
  • Name the poetic device used in the above lines. What effect does it have on you as a reader ?
  • Why has ‘she been compared to a star ?.

And.(i) The palanquin bearers are conscious of the privilege they have been accorded of carrying the maiden sitting in the palanquin .

(ii) The palanquin is as precious and beautiful as a peart for the palanquin bearers and the handles of the palanquin are like the string on which she is handing .

(iii) The palanquin bearers do not consider the maiden to be a burden. They feel. privileged to carry her and do so joyously, singing merrily. They do not plod along wearily like carrying a burden but glide over the road lightly

(iv) The poetic device used is ‘refrain’ (repetition). The refrain adds rhythm and music .to the poem and reinforces the gentle rhythmic movement of the palanquin. It also emphasizes the ides that the palanquin bearers are conscious of the fact that they are carrying a person passenger.

(v) She is compared her to a star because she is as radiant and beautiful as a star.

 

Lightly, O lightly we beer her along;

She sways like a flower in the wind of our song;

She sways like a bird on the foam of a stream,

She floats like a laugh from the lips of a dream.

  • Who are ‘we’? What are they doing ?
  • Who does ‘she’ refer to ? List any two object to which the speaker compares her?
  • Explain :’She sways like a flower in the wind of our song’.
  • Explain : She floats like a laugh from the lips of a dream’.

Ans. (i) ‘We’ refers to the palanquin bearers. They are carrying a maiden in a palanquin And they sing as they carry the maiden in the palanquin.

(ii) ‘She’ refers to the palanquin. She is compared to a flower swaying in the gentle breeze, a bird skimming across a river without touching the water.

(iii) The palanquin bearers move in rhythm to the beat of the song sung by them and the palanquin moves gently to the tune of that song.

(iv) The movement of the palanquin is as smooth and gently as a child smiling in a dream. Any jerk of discomfort that the maiden may feel is as ephemeral as a dream experience that one cannot recall even minutes after working.

 

She springs like a beam on the brow of the tide,

She falls like a tear from the eyes of a bride.

Lightly, O lightly we glide and we sing,

We bear her along like a peart on a string.

  • Why does the poet feel that she’ springs like a beam on the brow of the tide ?
  • Why are the palanquin bearers carrying the palanquin ‘lightly’ ?
  • Explain :’She falls like a tear from the eyes of a bride’.

Ans. (i) The poetess describes the luminous beauty of the palanquin (maiden in the Palanquin) by comparing her to the shimmering and dancing beam of light reflected on the moving waves of a river.

(ii) The palanquin bearers do not wish to cause discounfort to the maiden they are carrying. So they move smoothly and effortlessly carry the palanquin

(iii) The movement of the palanquin is as soft and gentle as the tear that slowly rolls down the cheek or a bride. 

 

TEXTUAL QUESTIONS :

What is the central idea of the poem ?

Ans. This poem, by Sarojini Naidu, is about an age-old custom when brides and women of high birth were carried in a palanquin. In the poem, the palanquin bearers are carrying a beautiful lady. The poetess has exquisitely depicted the movement of the palanquin and the glowing beauty of the lady. She begins with a description of a gently swaying palanquin moving in rhythm to the song of the bearers, who are very careful, as they want to protect the lady from any jerky movements

What is ‘refrain’ ? pick out the refrain in the poem.

Ans. A refrain is the repetition of lines or whole phrases in a poem, usually at the end of a stanza.

The refrain in this poem is :

Lightly, O lightly I softly, O softly we bear her along

Gaily, O gaily I Lightly, O lightly we glide and we sing.

We bear her along like a peart on a string.

How are the palanquin bearers carrying their burden – under compulsion joyfully ?

Ans. The palanquin bearers carry the maiden joyfully. They do not consider the maiden to be a burden. They feel privileged to carry her and do so joyously, singing merrily. They do not plod along wearily like carrying a burden but glide over the road lightly. They compare the maiden to a precious peart.

How does the poetess convey the contradictory feelings of ‘laughter’ and ‘crying’ in the poem ‘ The Palanquin Bearers?’

Ans. The poetess uses two images deliberately to convey the contradictory feelings of “joy” and ‘weeping’. In the first stanza the poetess says that “she floats like a laugh”. This conveys the joy of anticipation as she is going to her husband’s house. Her heart is full of excitement and mind is full of rosy dreams as the palanquin moves towards the residence of her soul mate, in the second stanza. The poetess writes, “she falls like a tear” . it is because the bride is sad as she has just separated from her family andfriends and separation is always painful. Thus the contraction between ‘laughter’ and ‘crying’ aptly sums up the oscillation of the bride between the two mods of joy and sadness.

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