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Page 348

GREAT AMERICAN AUTHORS
THE VILLAGE BLACKSMITH

meet its fate. Evetyone was sorry to see the old landmark go, and Longfellow especially felt the loss keenly. On his seventy-second birthday, an armchair made from the wood of the old chestnut tree was presented to Longfellow by the children of Cambridge. The fourth stanza of the poem was inscribed upon the chair, and a brass plate bore this inscription:
" To the author of `The Village Blacksmith,' this chair, made from the wood of the spreading chestnut tree, is presented as an expression of grateful regard and veneration by the children of Cambridge, who, with their friends, join in the best wishes and congratulations on this anniversary, February 27, 1879."
This remembrance so greatly pleased Longfellow that in reply to the children he wrote the poem, "From My Armchair."
Discussion. 1. What picture does the poet give you of the smith? 2. What is the result of the smith's owing nobody? 3. What habits of the blacksmith does this stanza tell you about? 4. What "lesson" has the blacksmith taught? 5. What is compared with "the flaming forge"? With "the sounding anvil"? 6. Which lines make an appropriate motto for all workers? 7. Find in the Glossary the meaning of: smithy; brawny; crisp; tan; bellows; sledge; sexton; chaff; thrashing. 8. Pronounce: sinewy; wrought.

THE OLD CLOCK ON THE STAIRS
Somewhat back from the village street Stands the old-fashioned countryseat. Across its antique portico
Tall poplar-trees their shadows throw;
And from its station in the hall An ancient timepiece says to all:
" Forever-never!
Never-forever!"

travel books:
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