Saturday, August 15, 2020

A Nation’s Strength | Summary, Questions, and Answers

Book Cover Class 8th English -Tulip Sereis

Poems | Class 8th | jandkncert

A Nation’s Strength | Summary, Questions, and Answers

Poem 1: A Nation’s Strength

What makes a nation’s pillars high?

And its foundations strong?

What makes it mighty defy?

The foes that round it throng


It is not gold. Its kingdoms grand

Go down in battle shock;

Its shafts are laid on sinking sand,

Not on abiding rock.


Is it the sword? Ask the dust

Of empires passed away;

The blood has turned their sones to rust,

Their glory to decay.


And is it pride? Ah, that bright crown

Has seemed to nations sweet;

But God has struck its luster down

In ashes at his feet.


Not gold but only men can make

A people great and strong;

Men who for truth and honour’s sake

Stand fast and suffer long.


Brave men who work while others seep,

Who dare while others fly…

They build a nation’s pillars deep

And lift them to the sky.

                             (Ralph Waldo Emerson)


Central Idea of the Poem

          ‘A Nation’s Strength’ is a good piece of poetry by Emerson about the patriotism. It shows the patriotic character of a person in a nation. The poet conveys a message to its readers that gold or wealth does not make a nation strong. It is the people who make it strong by suffering a, long for the sake of truth and honour. Kings may come and go. They die, but the patriotism never dies. The strength of a nation lies not in wealth, power, might, and pride but in its patriotic and determined people. The modern world would benefit and prosper not by hankering after materialistic goals but by producing brave and loyal citizens.


Summary of the Poem

          This poem ‘A Nation’s Strength’ has been written by ‘Ralph Waldo Emerson’. The poet has used a few paradoxical lines in this poem. He asks some questions to himself and the readers about, what makes a nation’s pillars high, and its foundations strong, and what makes it to defend the enemies that gather round it every time to invade. The poet answers the same questions in its own way. He says that gold cannot make the nation's pillars strong. Gold is the kingdoms grand. Its shafts are laid on sinking sand but on the enduring rock.

          The poet says that it is not the sword. A sword can kill a person. Many empires have gone and their glory has decayed. It is not the pride of a crown. Its luster fades away. The poet says that neither gold, nor, the sword, and nor the pride of the crown but the men who are patriotic can make the nation’s pillars strong. He says that it is brave men who work hard while others sleep and who stand fast while others fly away. These brave men make the nation great and built its deep and lift them to the height of the sky. The people sacrifice themselves for the sake of truth and honour. So the gold or wealth cannot be considered as the mark of development of a nation but it is the hard work, honesty, and bravery which can make a nation developed and builds its pillars deep so that to lift them to the sky.


Structure of the Poem

          The poem is a nice piece of patriotic poetry. The poem consists of six stanzas. Each stanza consists of four lines. The poem has a nice style of rhyming scheme. It has an ‘ab’ ‘ab’ type of rhyme scheme. The length of the lines is not the same.


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