The poem ‘The Brook’ is written in first person, so it
strikes an autobiographical note. It proceeds like a journey,
which has different stages, various ups and downs,
showing different kinds of movement.
The Brook begins its journey from somewhere in the
mountains, which are home to birds like ‘coots’ and
‘heron’ and ends it by joining the ‘brimming river’. On its
way, it passes by many hills, ridges, towns, villages,
bridges. The brook’s movement is sometimes forceful and
strong, sometimes leisurely. It makes its way by eroding
the banks, through cultivated, uncultivated lands and
forelands. The brook is also the habitat of many kinds of
fish and is full of willows, mallows and flowers. It also
provides a meeting point for lovers and surface to
swallows to skim. Its rushing water serves as a background
for the dance of the rays of the sun.
The brook proceeds on its journey slipping, sliding,
gliding, dancing, lingering, gushing. The moon, the stars
make it murmur. On its way, it overcomes many hurdles
and obstacles but reaches its final destination in the end.
The journey of the brook becomes parallel to the journey
of human life. The poet makes a reflective comment which
highlights the continuity and eternal existence of the brook
to the transitory nature of human life. The poet wishes to
point out that just as ups and downs do not deter the brook
from its journey, similarly, human beings should also take
the hurdles and sorrows in their stride.

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4. After reading the poem answer the following questions.


(c) A word or a combination of words, whose sounds seems to resemble the sound it denotes (for example: “hiss”, “buzz”, etc.) is called onomatopoeia. From the words that you have filled in the blurbs above, point out these words. 
Bicker, Chatter, Babble

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5. The following is a flow chart showing the course of the brook. Can you fill in the blank spaces with help from the phrases given below?


6. On the basis of your understanding of the poem, answer the following questions by ticking the correct choice.

(a) The message of the poem is that the life of a brook is ___________.
(i) temporary
(ii) short-lived
(iii) eternal
(v) momentary

(iii) eternal

(b) The poet draws a parallelism between the journey of the brook with ___________.
(i) the life of a man
(ii) the death of man
(iii) the difficulties in a man's life
(iv) the endless talking of human beings

(i) the life of a man

(c) The poem is narrated in the first person by the brook. This figure of speech is ________.
(i) Personification
(ii) Metaphor
(iii) Simile
(iv) Transferred epithet

(i) Personification

(d) In the poem, below mentioned lines:
"And here and there a lusty trout ,
And here and there a grayling"
suggest that _____________.
(i) the brook is a source of life
(ii) people enjoy the brook
(iii) fishes survive because of water
(iv) the brook witnesses all kinds of scenes

(i) the brook is a source of life

Page No: 62

7. Answer the following questions.  

(a) How does the brook ‘sparkle’?
The brook sparkles because of the sun’s rays which shine on its water. The sudden emergence or rush of the brook is shown to be in a sparkling motion.  

(b) ‘Bicker’ means ‘to quarrel’. Why does the poet use this word here?
‘Bicker’ means a noisy discussion or an argument. The poet uses the word ‘bicker’ to describe the noisy flow of the brook as it flows through the valley as it sounds like quarrel.

(c) How many hills and bridges does it pass during is journey?
The brook passes thirty hills and fifty bridges during its journey.

(d) Where does it finally meet the river?
The brook finally meets the river near Phillip’s farm.

(e) Why has the word ‘chatter’ been repeated in the poem?
The word ‘chatter’ has been repeated in the poem because it represents the sound frequently made by the flowing brook. It seems that the brook talks about its journey that it has travelled throughout in a lively mood.

(f) With many a curve my banks I fret’- What does the poet mean by this statement?
The brook becomes tired occasionally as it has to curve and move round and round, again and again.

(g) ‘I wind about, and in and out.' What kind of a picture does this line create in your mind?
The brook does not flow in a straight line but veers and twists itself along its way. It creates a picture offlowing waters of the brook resembling a maze or whirlpool.

(h) Name the different things that can be found floating in the brook.
The different things that can be found floating in the river are pumice, flowers, wood chips, foamy flakes, bark of trees, twigs and leaves.

(i) What does the poet want to convey by using the words ‘steal’ and ‘slide’?
By using the words ‘steal’ and ‘slide’, the poet refers to smooth and noiseless movement of the brook.

(j) The poem has many examples of alliteration. List five examples.
Five examples of alliteration in the poem are:
‘Sudden sally’
‘Field and fallow’
‘Golden gravel’
‘Slip, slide’

(k) ‘I make the netted sunbeam dance.’ What does ‘the netted sunbeam’ mean? How does it dance? 
The sunrays filtering through the leaves and bushes make a net-like pattern on shallow water-pools. They are reflected on the surface of water and appear to be dancing as the water flows.

(l) What is the ‘refrain’ in the poem? What effect does it create?
In the referred poem, the refrain is:
‘For men may come and men may go 
But I go on for ever.’
The repetition of the refrain emphasises the transitory nature of man and the eternal nature of the brook. 

8. Read the given lines and answer the questions
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.

(a) Who does ‘I’ refer to in the given lines? 
(b) How does it 'chatter'? 
(c) Why has the poet used the word 'brimming'? What kind of a picture does it create? 
(d) Explain the last two lines of the stanza.

(a) ‘I’ refers to the brook in the given lines.
(b) The brook chatters by flowing over the pebbles making a lot of meaningless noise.
(c) ‘Brimming’ means full to the brim or top. It creates an impression on our mind of the picture of a big river in flood.
(d) These lines tell us that men have a short span of life; man is mortal and human life is transient. The life of the brook, however, is continuous and will never end. Nature is  immortal and can outlive man. That is why the brook says it will go on forever. The  immortal nature of the brook is contrasted with the fleeting nature of man's life.

9. Identity the rhyme scheme of the poem.
The rhyme scheme is ab ab cd cd .....

10. The poem is full of images that come alive through skilful use of words. List out any two images that appeal to you the most, quoting the lines from the poem.
The first vivid image created by the poet is that
of the brook flowing through hills and valleys, under the
bridges and by the villages.
By thirty hills I hurry down
Or slip between the ridges
By twenty thorpes, a little town,
And half a hundred bridges.
The second striking image is that of serpent. Like flow of the brook, with flowers and fish floating on it. This image is most appealing because it is apt, colourful and poetic. 

11. The brook appears to be a symbol for life. Pick out examples of parallelism between life and the brook. 
The brook appears to be a symbol for life, which becomes the central theme of the poem. Various instances that can be seen in the poem which draw parallel between brook and life.
The brook is a small stream that is born in somemountain. It grows bigger and stronger in the course of its
journey. It makes so many types of sounds as it flows through the pebbles. Its movements are also varied. It slips and slides; it steals and winds its curves and flows. It chatters and babbles, it makes musical as well as harsh sounds. The brook’s birth and growth, chattering and babbling are very much similar to the activities of a human being. The brook represents life in general. Both have an origin, a middle stage and an end. Both struggle against various adversities, odds and keep moving towards their goal. Above all, the brook represents life. Men may come and men may go, but life goes on forever. The same rule applies in the case of the brook. It keeps flowing eternally, like life.

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