Summary of “The North Ship”

Book Name : Bliss English Textbook For Class IX Second Language
Subject : Bliss
Class : 9th (Madhyamik/WB)
Publisher : Prof. Nabanita Chatterjee
Chapter Name : The North Ship (9th chapter)

About the author

Philip Arthur Larkin was a prominent English poet and novelist born in 1922 and died in 1985. He authored several collections of poetry, including The Less Deceived, The Whitsun Weddings, and High Windows. Larkin’s works often focused on everyday life and relationships, and he became well-known for his simple and direct style of writing.

(50 words)

Introduction of the poem

This poem describes the journey of three ships that head to different destinations. While two ships return hack, one presses forward and faces perils to continue its long onward journey, almost like a symbol of aspiration that overcomes all obstacles.

(40 words)

Summary of the Poem

Bliss IX 080

“The North Ship” is a poem that describes the journey of three ships sailing over the sea in different directions. The first ship sails westward and is carried by the wind to a rich country. The second ship sails eastward, but the wind chases it like a beast and brings it to captivity. The third ship sails northward, but it encounters no wind and moves slowly in a cold, dark sea. While the other two ships return to their starting point, the third ship sails far into an unforgiving sea under a fire-spilling star. The poem highlights the different journeys and fates of the three ships, symbolizing the unpredictability of life and the need for perseverance in the face of challenges. The use of vivid imagery and personification of the wind enhances the mood of the poem, which is one of uncertainty and wonder about the fate of the ships.

(150 words)

The theme of the poem

The poem is about three ships that set sail in different directions. One ship goes west and finds riches, another goes east and is trapped, and the third heads north but faces difficulties. The poem explores the ideas of exploration, adventure, and the unknown. It suggests that some journeys are more difficult than others, but that the desire to explore and the determination to persevere can lead to great rewards.

(70 words)

Explanation of the poem

This poem is a nostalgic reflection on a misty, rainy day, evoking memories of the past. It captures the atmosphere and emotions associated with the speaker’s childhood. Let’s break it down stanza by stanza:

Stanza 1:

“Mild the mist upon the hill.

Telling not of storms tomorrow;

No; the day has wept its fill,

Spent its store of silent sorrow.”

In the first stanza, the poet describes the mild mist on the hill. The mist doesn’t foretell storms for the following day; rather, it suggests that the current day has already seen its share of rain and sadness. It sets a melancholic tone for the poem.

Stanza 2:

“Oh, I’m gone back to the days of youth,

I am a child once more;

And ‘neath my father’s sheltering root

And near the old hall door.”

In the second stanza, the speaker expresses a strong sense of nostalgia. They feel as if they have travelled back to the days of their youth, becoming a child once again. The mention of their father’s “sheltering root” and the old hall door indicates a return to the comforting and familiar surroundings of their childhood.

Stanza 3:

“I watch this cloudy evening fall,

After a day of rain: Blue mists,

sweet mists of summer pall

The horizon’s mountain-chain.”

The third stanza describes the scene as the evening falls. The speaker observes the cloudy sky after a day of rain. The mists, while shrouding the mountain range on the horizon, are described as “sweet mists of summer,” which suggests a sense of beauty and tranquillity in the midst of the rain and mist.

Stanza 4:

“The damp stands in the long, green grass

As thick as morning’s tears;

And dreamy scents of fragrance pass

That breathe of other years.”

In the final stanza, the poet paints a vivid picture of the damp grass, which is as thick as morning’s tears, alluding to the lingering moisture from the rain. The “dreamy scents of fragrance” evoke a sense of nostalgia and memories of past years. The speaker is immersed in the sensory experience of the moment and the emotions it stirs.

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