Minto’s Manual of English Prose Literature (De Quincey).
Blake.—Some of his best poems are given in Ward, IV., 601-608; Bronson, III., 385-403; Manly, I., 301-304; Oxford, 558-566; Century, 485-489, and in the volume in The Canterbury Poets.
Point out in Blake’s verse (a) the new feeling for nature, (b) evidences of wide sympathies, (c) mystical tendencies, and (d) compare his verses relating to children and nature with Wordsworth’s poems on the same subjects.
Cowper.—Read the opening stanzas of Cowper’s Conversation and note the strong influence of Pope in the cleverly turned but artificial couplets. Compare this poem with the one On the Receipt of my Mother’s Picture or with The Task, Book IV., lines 1-41 and 267-332, Cassell’s National Library, Canterbury Poets, or Temple Classics and point out the marked differences in subject matter and style. What forward movement in literature is indicated by the change in Cowper’s manner? John Gilpin should be read for its fresh, beguiling humor.
For selections, see Bronson, III., 310-329; Ward, III., 422-485; Century, 470-479; Manly, I., 285-294.
Burns.—Read The Cotter’s Saturday Night, For a’ That and a’ That, To a Mouse, Highland Mary, To Mary in Heaven, Farewell to Nancy, I Love My Jean, A Red, Red Rose. The teacher should read to the class parts of Tam o’ Shanter.
The Globe edition contains the complete poems of Burns with Glossary. Inexpensive editions may be found in Cassell’s National Library, Everyman’s Library, and Canterbury Poets. For selections, see Bronson, III., 338-385; Ward. III., 512-571; Century, 490-502; Manly, I., 309-326; Oxford, 492-506.
In what ways do the first three poems mentioned above show Burns’s sympathy with democracy? Quote some of Burns’s fine descriptions of nature and describe the manner in which he treats nature. How does he rank as a writer of love songs? What qualities in his poems have touched so many hearts? Compare his poetry with that of Dryden, Pope, and Shakespeare.
Scott.—Read The Lady of the Lake, Canto III., stanzas iii.-xxv., or Marmion, Canto VI., stanzas xiii.-xxvii. (American Book Company’s Eclectic English Classics, Cassell’s National Library, or Everyman’s Library.) Read in Craik, V., “The Gypsy’s Curse” (Guy Mannering), pp. 14-17, “The Death of Madge Wildfire” (Heart of Middlothian), pp. 30-35, and “The Grand Master of the Templars” (Ivanhoe), pp. 37-42. The student should put on his list for reading at his leisure: Guy Mannering, Old Mortality, Ivanhoe, Kenilworth, and The Talisman.
In what kind of poetry does Scott excel? Quote some of his spirited heroes, and point out their chief excellences. How does his poetry differ from that of Burns? In the history of fiction, does Scott rank as an imitator or a creator? As a writer of fiction, in what do his strength and his weakness consist? Has he those qualities that will cause him to be popular a century hence? What can be said of his style?