croft, a small inclosed field, near a house.
croon, to sing in a low tone.
quips, quick, smart turns.
piping, making a shrill sound like that of a pipe or flute.
In the first stanza what are the marks called that enclose Little Bell? Why are these marks used here?
Name the words of the poem in which the apostrophe is used. Tell what it denotes in each case.
Where does the poem first take us? What do we see there?
In what words does the blackbird address the “pretty maid, slowly wandering” his way? Who is she?
Seated beneath the rocks, what does Little Bell ask the blackbird to do?
Read the lines that describe the blackbird’s song. Why did the bird sing so sweetly? What were the effects of his song on “the little childish heart below?”
Seated amid the fern, what did Little Bell ask the squirrel to do? Read the lines that tell what the squirrel did. What invitation did the squirrel receive from Little Bell?
Where does the poem bring us “at the close of day?” Tell what you see there.
Read the lines that tell what the angel asked.
Read the angel’s words in the first two lines of the last stanza. What is their meaning?
What promises did the angel make to this good child? Why did he make such beautiful promises?
Tell what the following words and expressions of the poem mean: quoth he; straight unfold; dell; glade; hies; showery curls of gold; bonny bird; hazel shade; void of fear; golden woodlights; adown the tree; playmates twain; with folded palms; an angel shape; with angels’ care; the bird did pour his full heart out freely; the sweetness did shine forth in happy overflow.
Select a stanza of the poem, and express in your own words the thought it contains.
Describe some of the pictures the poem brings to mind.
What is the lesson the poet wishes us to learn from this poem?
Show how the couplet of the English poet, Coleridge,—
prayeth best who loveth best,
All things both great and small,”—
is illustrated in the story of Little Bell.
Write a composition on the story from the following hints: Where did Little Bell go? In what season of the year? At what time of day? How old was she? How did she look? What companions did she meet? What did the three friends do? How did the little girl close the day?
In your composition, use as many words and phrases of the poem as you can.
* * * * *
Prayer is the dew of faith,
Its raindrop, night and day,
That guards its vital power from death
When cherished hopes decay,
And keeps it mid this changeful scene,
A bright, perennial evergreen.