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Table of Contents

“Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”

by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.


1. Who do you think “owns” these woods? How might the poet know the person?

2. What does the horse think about stopping? How does Frost give you a hint about what the horse might be thinking?

3. Do you think the writer thought stopping was a mistake? Why or why not?

4. Look at the last two lines of the poem. Could the poet be talking about something other than sleeping? What could the poem be a metaphor to represent? What else in the poem fits with this different meaning? What does the author want us to understand about life?

“Nothing Gold Can Stay”

by Robert Frost

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.


1. What do you think the title of this poem means?

2. This poem has been mentioned in other books, movies, and television shows, including The Outsiders and an episode of the Simpsons. Research one of these references and tell why you think they refer to this poem.

“Out, Out–”

by Robert Frost

The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
And from there those that lifted eyes could count
Five mountain ranges one behind the other
Under the sunset far into Vermont.
And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
And nothing happened: day was all but done.
Call it a day, I wish they might have said
To please the boy by giving him the half hour
That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
His sister stood beside them in her apron
To tell them “Supper.” At the word, the saw,
As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,
Leaped out at the boy’s hand, or seemed to leap—
He must have given the hand. However it was,
Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!
The boy’s first outcry was a rueful laugh,
As he swung toward them holding up the hand
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—
Since he was old enough to know, big boy
Doing a man’s work, though a child at heart—
He saw all spoiled. “Don’t let him cut my hand off—
The doctor, when he comes. Don’t let him, sister!”
So. But the hand was gone already.
The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
And then—the watcher at his pulse took fright.
No one believed. They listened at his heart.
Little—less—nothing!—and that ended it.
No more to build on there. And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.


1. How do you feel after reading this poem?

2. How does Frost use descriptive language and imagery to communicate with the reader? Give two examples.

“Fire and Ice”

by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.


1. How is fire like desire?

2. How is ice like hate?

3. Do you think Frost’s descriptions of fire and ice are effective? Why or why not?

“Mending Wall”

by Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And make gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”


1. Does your neighborhood have fences or walls? Do they separate people or bring them together? What does this poem say about walls?

2. What does the expression “good fences make good neighbors” mean?

3. A paradox is something is contradictory or that seems to mean two opposite things. How do walls present a paradox in this poem?

The Highwayman

by Alfred Noyes



The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding—
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.


He’d a French cocked-hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
They fitted with never a wrinkle: his boots were up to the thigh!
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
           His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.


Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
           Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.


And dark in the dark old inn - yard a stable - wicket creaked
Where Tim the ostler listened; his face was white and peaked;
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord’s daughter,
           The landlord’s red-lipped daughter,
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say—


“One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I’m after a prize to-night,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet, if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
           Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though Hell should bar the way.”


He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair i’ the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
           (Oh, sweet, black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the West.



He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon;
And out o’ the tawny sunset, before the rise o’ the moon,
When the road was a gypsy’s ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop came marching—
King George’s men came marching, up to the old inn-door.


They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead,
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed;
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets at their side!
There was death at every window;
           And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.


They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest;
They had bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
“Now, keep good watch!” and they kissed her.
           She heard the dead man say—
“Look for me by moonlight;
           Watch for me by moonlight;
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though Hell should bar the way!”


She twisted her hands behind her; but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
Till, now, on the stroke of midnight,
           Cold, on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!


The tip of one finger touched it; she strove no more for the rest!
Up, she stood up to attention, with the barrel beneath her breast,
She would not risk their hearing; she would not strive again;
For the road lay bare in the moonlight;
           Blank and bare in the moonlight;
And the blood of her veins in the moonlight throbbed to her love’s refrain.


           Tlot-tlot; tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs ringing clear;
Tlot-tlot, tlot-tlot, in the distance? Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding,
           Riding, riding!
The red-coats looked to their priming! She stood up, straight and still!


Tlot-tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot-tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment; she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
           Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him— with her death.


He turned; he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o’er the musket, drenched with her own red blood!
Not till the dawn he heard it, his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
           The landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.


Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were his spurs i’ the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
When they shot him down on the highway,
           Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


And still of a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding—
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.


Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard;
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred;
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
           Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.


1. How does this poem make you feel after you read it? Give two examples of words the poet uses that make you feel this way.

2. Draw a cartoon with different frames that show the events of this poem.

3. Give three examples of powerful imagery in this poem.

“Annabel Lee”

by Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
        In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
       By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
       Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
        In this kingdom by the sea:
But we loved with a love that was more than love —
        I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
       Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
       In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
       My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
       And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
       In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
       Went envying her and me —
Yes! — that was the reason (as all men know,
       In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
       Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
       Of those who were older than we —
       Of many far wiser than we —
And neither the angels in heaven above,
       Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
       Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
       Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
       Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling — my darling — my life and my bride,
       In her sepulchre there by the sea,
       In her tomb by the sounding sea.


1. Make a recording of this poem. Do you think that it is easier to understand poems when they are read aloud? Why or why not?

2. Why does the poet say that Annabel Lee died?

3. How does the end of the poem make you feel? Is it tragic or hopeful? What words make you think that?

“The Raven”

by Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
           Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
           Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“‘Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;
           This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door—
           Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
           Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping something louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
           ‘Tis the wind and nothing more.

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he,
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
           Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then the ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
           Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
           With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if its soul in that one word he did outpour
Nothing farther then he uttered; not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered: “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
           Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
           Of ‘Never—nevermore.’”

But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
           Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er
           She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
           Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate, yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
           Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
           Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Be that our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul has spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
           Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadows on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
           Shall be lifted—nevermore!


1. Give three examples of descriptive language or imagery that the poet uses effectively in this poem.

2. The author thinks that the raven is from “the Night’s Plutonian shore” or the afterlife. What questions does Poe ask the raven, and how do they relate to Lenore?

3. “Annabel Lee” and “The Raven” are both about lost love. Compare and contrast the two poems.

“I’m Nobody! Who are you?”

by Emily Dickinson

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you — Nobody — Too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise — you know!

How dreary — to be — Somebody!
How public — like a Frog —
To tell one’s name — the livelong June —
To an admiring Bog!


1. How does the poet feel about being “nobody”?

2. What is the difference between being “nobody” and being “somebody”? Write your own poem about this.

The Village Blacksmith

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
   The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
   With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
   Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
   His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
   He earns whate’er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
   For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
   You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
   With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
   When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
   Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
   And bear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
   Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
   And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
   He hears his daughter’s voice,
Singing in the village choir,
   And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother’s voice,
   Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
   How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
   A tear out of his eyes.

   Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
   Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
   Has earned a night’s repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
   For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
   Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
   Each burning deed and thought.


1. Draw a picture of the blacksmith. How do the poet’s words tell you what he might look like?

2. What “lesson” does the blacksmith teach?

“The Cremation of Sam McGee”

by Robert Service

   There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
   The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
   The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
   Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.

Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam ‘round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he’d often say in his homely way that he’d “sooner live in hell”.

On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;
It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.

And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and “Cap,” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”

Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no;
   then he says with a sort of moan:
“It’s the cursed cold, and it’s got right hold
   till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet ‘tain’t being dead — it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”

A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.

There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say:
   “You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it’s up to you to cremate those last remains.”

Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb,
   in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight,
   while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows —
   O God! how I loathed the thing.

And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.

Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May”.
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”

Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared —
   such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.

Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled
   down my cheeks, and I don’t know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.

I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside.
I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked”; . . .
   then the door I opened wide.

And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile,
   and he said: “Please close that door.
It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear you’ll let in the cold and storm —
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee,
   it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”

   There are strange things done in the midnight sun
      By the men who moil for gold;
   The Arctic trails have their secret tales
      That would make your blood run cold;
   The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
      But the queerest they ever did see
   Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
      I cremated Sam McGee.


1. What is the setting of this poem?

2. Why does Sam McGee want to be cremated?

3. How does the poet appeal to the reader’s senses in describing the cremation?

“Casey at the Bat”

by Ernest Lawrence Thayer

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day;
The score stood four to two with but one inning more to play.
And then when Cooney died at first, and Barrows did the same,
A sickly silence fell upon of the patrons of the game.

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest
Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast.
They thought if only Casey could but get a whack at that-
We’d put even money now with Casey at the bat.

But Flynn preceded Casey, as did also Jimmy Blake,
And the former was lulu and the latter was a cake;
So upon that stricken multitude grim melancholy sat,
For there seemed but little chance of Casey’s getting to the bat.

But Flynn let drive a single, to the wonderment of all,
And Blake, the much despised, tore the cover off the ball;
And when the dust had lifted, and the men saw what had occurred,
There was Johnnie safe at second, and Flynn a-hugging third.

Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

There was ease in Casey’s manner as he stepped into his place;
There was pride in Casey’s bearing and a smile on Casey’s face.
And when, responding to the cheers, he lightly doffed his hat,
No stranger in the crowd could doubt ‘twas Casey at the bat.

Ten thousand eyes were on him as he rubbed his hands with dirt;
Five thousand tongues applauded when he wiped them on his shirt.
Then while the writhing pitcher ground the ball into his hip,
Defiance gleamed in Casey’s eye, a sneer curled Casey’s lip.

And now the leather-covered sphere came hurtling through the air,
And Casey stood a-watching it in haughty grandeur there.
Close by the sturdy batsman the ball unheeded sped-
“That ain’t my style,” said Casey. “Strike one,” the umpire said.

From the benches, black with people, there went up a muffled roar,
Like the beating of the storm-waves on the stern and distant shore.
“Kill him! Kill the umpire!” shouted some one on the stand;
And it’s likely they’d have killed him had not Casey raised his hand.

With a smile of Christian charity great Casey’s visage shone;
He stilled the rising tumult, he bade the game go on;
He signaled to the pitcher, and once more the spheroid flew;
But Casey still ignored it, and the umpire said, “Strike Two.”

“Fraud!” cried the maddened thousands, and echo answered “fraud”;
But one scornful look from Casey and the audience was awed;
They saw his face grow stern and cold, they saw his muscles strain,
And they knew that Casey wouldn’t let that ball go by again.

The sneer is gone from Casey’s lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
He pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
And now the air is shattered by the force of Casey’s blow.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville – mighty Casey has struck out.


1. Write a newspaper article about the baseball game described in this poem.

2. Draw a cartoon that shows the events in the game.


abreast (adjective) – side by side

Aidenn (noun) – Eden or paradise

ale (noun) – beer


anvil (noun) – a large iron block that is used to shape heated metal


appeal (noun) – a call for help

balm in Gilead (noun) – a healing compound

bearing (noun) – manner

beguiling (verb) – to charm through trickery

bellows (noun) – pumps used to blow air


bonny (adjective) – beautiful

brand (noun) – a hot piece of metal used to mark cattle

brandished (verb) – waved back and forth

brawn (noun) – physical strength

brawny (adjective) – muscular, strong

breeches (noun) – short pants

cascade (noun) – a stream or flow; a waterfall

casement (noun) – a window that opens outward

cash in (slang; verb) – to die

censer (noun) – a container for holding burning incense

chaff (noun) – the part of wheat that can’t be eaten

claret (adjective) – a dark red color; wine colored

cobbles (noun) – a rounded stone that is used to pave a street

countenance (noun) – appearance

coveted (verb) – wished for

craven (noun) – coward

cremated (verb) – burned to ashes

crisp (adjective) – in stiff curls

decorum (noun) – good manners; politeness

defiance (noun) – resisting the opposition

dell (noun) – valleys

derelict (noun) – abandoned ship

desolate (adjective) – empty; lifeless

despair (noun) – gloom; loss of hope

despised (adjective) – hated

dirge (noun) – a sad song or poem

discourse (noun) – spoken words

dissever (verb) – split up

divining (verb) – guessing

dumb (adjective) – unable to speak

ebony (adjective) – black

ember (noun) – a burning coal

entreating (verb) – asking for

ether (noun) – a chemical used as to put someone to sleep

forge (noun) – the furnace where metals are heated before being made into things

galleon (noun) – a large masted ship


ghastly (adjective) – very bad; shockingly

grandeur (noun) – magnificence

grisly (adjective) – terrifying; horrifying

harry (verb) – bother

haughty (adjective) – acting superior or better than everyone else

hearkened (verb) – listened

heed (verb) – to obey

implore (verb) – beg for

kinsman (noun) – a male relative

lattice (noun) – a panel with crossing strips of wood


loathed (verb) – hated

lore (noun) – past history and stories

maiden (noun) – a young girl

marge (noun) – border, edge

melancholy (noun) – sadness

mien (noun) – demeanor; attitude

mischief (noun) – trouble; annoyance; irritation

moil (verb) – to work hard for

moor (noun) – a large area of land that is bare or covered with shrubs

mushing (verb) – to travel with a dog sled

muskets (noun) – large guns carried by soldiers in the past


nepenthe (noun) – a drug to relieve one from sadness

obeisance (noun) – obedient attitude; paying respect

offense (noun) – an act that bothers; an insult

ostler (noun) – a person who takes care of horses at an inn or stable

Pallas (noun) – the name for several Greek gods

pallid (adjective) – pale

parson (noun) – a minister

patrons (noun) – fans

placid (adjective) – calm; peaceful

plaiting (verb) – braiding

Plutonian shore (noun) – the afterlife

pondered (verb) – thought deeply

preceded (verb) – came before

quaff (verb) – to drink

queer (adjective) – strange; odd

rapier (noun) – sword


respite (noun) – a break from

rueful (adjective) – feeling regret or sorrow

scowled (verb) – frowned

sepulchre (noun) – tomb; burial chamber

seraphs (noun) – angels

sexton (noun) – a church official

sinewy (adjective) – strong, stringy with tendons

sledge (noun) – a large, heavy hammer


smithy (noun) – the place where a blacksmith works

snarled (verb) – growled

sniggering (adjective) – a sly laugh

spheroid (noun) – ball

spurred (verb) – to prod or poke a horse

stern (adjective) – serious; strict

strive (verb) – try hard; struggle

subsides (verb) – sink; fall; become less

suffice (verb) – to be enough; to fill a need

surcease (verb) – to put to an end

tawny (adjective) – light brown or brownish yellow in color

tempest (noun) – a storm

Tempter (noun) – the devil

torrent (noun) – a large amount of something; a heavy stream

trice (noun) – a moment

tumult (noun) – noise made by a crowd

visage (noun) – face

whimper (verb) – to make a quiet whining or sobbing sound

wicket (noun) – a small gate

wrought (verb) – worked

yore (noun) – a time long past



1 – Angelo Juan Ramos CC BY

2, 3, 4, 9 – WPClipart PD

5, 8 – Open Clip Art Library PD

6 – mrhayata CC BY

7 – Nick Robinson CC BY