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Page 081

THE OLD OAKEN BUCKET

How ardent I seized it, with hands that were glowing,
And quick to the white-pebbled bottom it fell;
Then soon, with the emblem of truth overflowing,
And dripping with coolness, it rose from the well
The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
The moss-covered bucket arose from the well.

How sweet from the green mossy brim to receive it,
As, poised on the curb, it inclined to my lips!
Not a full, blushing goblet could tempt me to leave it,
Though filled with the nectar which Jupiter sips;
And now, far removed from thy loved situation,
The tear of regret will intrusively swell,
As fancy reverts to my father's plantation,
And sighs for the bucket which hangs in the well
The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
The moss-covered bucket which hangs in the well.

NOTES AND QUESTIONS
Biography
. Samuel Woodworth (1785-1842), an American poet and editor, was born in Scituate, Massachusetts. He was a printer by trade, and became associated with George P. Morris, author of "Woodman, Spare That Tree," in a number of newspapers in New York City. He wrote several patriotic songs, but of all his writings "The Old Oaken Bucket" is best known.
Discussion. 1. Why do you think the "scenes" of the poet's childhood are so dear to him? 2. What words does he use to describe the bucket? 3. When did the boy find greatest pleasure in the old oaken bucket? 4. Listen while the poem is read aloud by three good readers, each reading a stanza. 5. What does the poet say is "the emblem of truth"? 6. How did the boy drink from the bucket? 7. Have you ever seen the kind of well and bucket described in this poem? 8. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: cataract; cot; rude; iron-bound; yield; glowing; inclined. 9. Pronounce: exquisite; ardent; situation.

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