Summary of “Summer Friends”

Summer Friends
Book Name : Blossom English Textbook For Class VIII Second Language
Subject : English
Class : 8th (Madhyamik/WB)
Publisher : Prof. Nabanita Chatterjee
Chapter Name : Summer Friends (9th chapter)

About the Author

Mary Ann Lamb (1764 -1847) was a famous English poet and writer. She is best known today for her collaboration with her brother Charles Lamb on the collection Tales from Shakespeare. She and her brother presided over a literary circle in London that included poets like Wordsworth and Coleridge.

(50 words)

Introduction to the Poem

The poem speaks of the Swallow, a bird that arrives in summer and leaves when winter chills the air. It draws a parallel to human friendships, noting how in tough times, we often seek closeness to others, like sparrows flocking to people in cold weather. True friends remain steadfast, offering warmth and companionship even in adversity.

(50 words)

Summary of the Poem

Summer Friends

The poem describes the behaviour of a Swallow, a bird that appears during the summer and brings joy with its cheerful chirping. However, when winter comes, the Swallow departs, much like some young friends who distance themselves during difficult times. The poem suggests that, in the cold and challenging days of winter, people tend to seek comfort and support from one another, much like the Sparrow clinging closer to humans. Despite the trials and tribulations of life, true and old friends never let their hearts grow cold or distant. The speaker expresses a desire for both the bird (the Swallow) and such steadfast friends, who, like the Swallow’s song in winter, will continue to bring warmth, singing in the frost and showing love in sorrow, even in the face of adversity.

(130 words)

Explanation of the Poem

Stanza 1:

“The Swallow is a summer bird; He in our chimneys when the weather Is fine and warm, may then be heard Chirping his notes for weeks together.”

Explanation: In this stanza, the poet introduces the Swallow, describing it as a bird that arrives during the summer. The Swallow is known for taking shelter in chimneys and is heard singing its melodious notes when the weather is pleasant and warm for an extended period.

Stanza 2:

“Come there but one cold wintry day, Away will fly our guest the Swallow: And much like him we find the way Which many a gay young friend will follow”

Explanation: This stanza conveys that when a single cold winter day arrives, the Swallow, like a fleeting guest, departs. The poet draws a parallel, suggesting that many jovial young friends also tend to depart or withdraw during challenging times, just as the Swallow leaves in winter.

Stanza 3:

“In dreary days of snow and frost Closer to Man Will Cling the Sparrow: Old friends, although in life we’re crost. Their hearts to us will never narrow.”

Explanation: Here, the poem expresses that during the bleak and cold days of snow and frost, the Sparrow, another bird, seeks closeness to humans (Man). The stanza highlights the idea that true, old friends (symbolized by the Sparrow) remain steadfast even when life presents hardships and challenges. Their hearts will never grow distant or cold.

Stanza 4:

“Give me the bird—give me the friend— Will sing in frost—will love in sorrow— Whate’er mischance to-day may send, Will greet me with his sight tomorrow.”

Explanation: The final stanza reflects the poet’s desire. The poet wishes for both the bird (Swallow) and the loyal friend. These are the ones who, like the Swallow’s song in frosty weather, will sing during challenging times and show love in moments of sorrow. They will be there to greet the poet again tomorrow, regardless of the misfortunes that today may bring.

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