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The Brook Summary in English by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The Brook Summary in English
This is a poem that 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 poet uses the brook to draw a 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 does, before it empties into the river.
By the use of words like ‘chatter’, ‘babble’, ‘sharps and trebles’, the poet describes the energetic movement of the brook in the initial stages which changes to the usage of words like ‘steal’, ‘slide’, ‘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 mountain and hills during its journey.
It passes through different landforms, through forests and past fields that are either fertile or fallow. It also passes by grassy lawns and flower filled gardens with forget-me-nots and hazel trees. It does not follow a straight path but meanders 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. The picture of the brook comes alive with the mention of the fishes like trout and grayling that swim in it and the reflection of the sunbeam dancing on its waves.
Through this poem, the poet points to the eternal nature of the brook that outlives man. Many men are bom and die but the brook never ceases to exist. It continues to flow from its source to the river eternally.
The Brook Summary Questions and Answers
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:
b. The poet draws a parallelism between the journey of the brook:
(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
And the life of man.
c. The poem is narrated in the first person by the brook. This figure of speech is:
(iv) Transferred epithet
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.
The brook is a source of life.
Answer the following questions.
a. How does the brook sparkle?
The brook sparkles because the sunlight reflects off its clear water.
b. Bicker’ means to quarrel. Why does the poet use the word here?
The brook makes a noise which can be compared to the sound of quarrelling as it flows down into a valley.
c. How many hills and bridges does the brook pass during its journey?
The brook passes thirty hills and fifty bridges during its journey.
d. Where does it finally meet the river?
It finally meets the river after flowing by Phillip’s farm.
e. Why has the word‘chatter’been repeated in the poem?
The word ‘chatter’ has been repeated in the poem to create the sound effect of the rapid movement of the brook.
f. With many a curve my banks I fret’. What does the poet mean by this statement?
The brook shapes its bank by constantly eroding it and depositing silt. This creates new curves on the banks. This process is referred to in the above mentioned line.
g. ‘I wind about, and in and out’. What kind of a picture does this line create in your mind?
This line creates a picture of a meandering brook, weaving itself into the landscape. Its movement is rapid as curved and it rolls down the gentle slopes, making its marks on the landscape.
h. Name the different things that can be found floating in the brook.
Blossoms of flowers, lusty trouts, graylings and foamy flakes can all be found floating in the brook.
L What does the poet want to convey by using the words ‘steal’ and ‘slide’?
‘Steal’ and ‘slide’ implies that the brook is moving quietly and fluidly through the landscape.
j. The poem has many examples of alliteration. List any five examples.
Five examples of alliteration in the poem are:
‘field and fallow’
k. ‘I make the netted sunbeam dance ’. What does ‘the netted sunbeam ’ mean? How does it dance?
The rays of the sun, as they filter through the leaves of the trees, create a netted pattern. This pattern projects itself on the surface of the water and gives the illusion of dancing sunbeams.
l. What is the ‘refrain ’ in the poem? What effect does it create?
The refrain is ‘For men may come and men may go, But I go on forever.’ It creates an effect of timelessness.
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?
‘I’ refers to the brook.
b. How does it ‘chatter’?
It ‘chatters’ because of the noise that it makes as it flows over the golden bedrock, cutting through the landscape.
c. Why Has the poet used the word ‘brimming’? What kind of a picture does it create?
The poet has used the word ‘brimming’ to indicate that the river is overflowing its banks in its motion.
d. Explain the last two lines of the stanza.
The last two lines of the stanza imply that although the life of human beings is finite, the flow of the river is eternal.