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  1. #1
    asad hussain is offline Member
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    Please, please answer the questions!

    Could someone please do me favor ? I am putting a poem and some questions regarding it down here. I am up the creek to comprehend the poem, since it’s strongly worded. Could some one please extract some of their time write a sentence to answer the questions followed by? I will be very much thankful to you for your help.

    A Smugglers' SongRudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
    If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse's feet, Don't go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street, Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie. Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

    Five and twenty ponies Trotting through the dark - Brandy for the Parson, Baccy for the Clerk Laces for a lady; letters for a spy,

    And watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

    Running round the woodlump if you chance to find Little barrels, roped and tarred, all full of brandy-wined; Don't you shout to come and look, nor take 'em for your play; Put the brushwood back again, - and they'll be gone next day!

    If you see the stableyard setting open wide; If you see a tired horse lying down inside; If your mother mends a coat cut about and tore; If the lining's wet and warm - don't you ask no more!

    If you meet King George's men, dressed in blue and red, You be careful what you say, and mindful what is said. If they call you 'pretty maid’, and chuck you 'neath the chin, Don't you tell where no one is, nor yet where no one's been!

    Knocks and footsteps round the house - whistles after dark - You've no call for running out till the house-dogs bark. Trusty's here, and Pincher's here, and see how dumb they lie - They don't fret to follow when the Gentlemen go by!

    If you do as you've been told, likely there's a chance, You'll be give a dainty doll, all the way from France, With a cap of Valenciennes, and a velvet hood - A present from the Gentlemen, along o’ being good!

    Five and twenty ponies, Trotting through the dark - Brandy for the Parson, 'Baccy for the Clerk.

    Them that asks no questions isn't told a lie, Watch the wall, my darling, while the Gentlemen go by!

    Here are the questions.

    1. Where do you imagine the story of this poem is set?
    2. Who is the speaker talking to? How can you tell whether they are male or female?
    3. What is the person being told?
    4. Who are ‘the Gentlemen’, and who are the ‘King George’s men’?
    5. Why do you think that the brandy-wine will be gone by the next day?
    6. Why is mother mending a coat with a wet lining?
    7. Whose dogs are Trusty and Pinchers? Why don’t they bark?
    8. What is meant by ‘watch the wall’ in this poem?

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Please, please answer the questions!

    1 Unclear from the poem, but brandy and tobacco were smuggled into the south west, King George suggests the time.
    2 Darling- suggests female
    3 To be streetwise
    4 gentlemen = smugglers King George's men = authorities
    5 people know when the deliveries take place
    6 Maybe it has been torn to get at something hidden in the lining
    7 trained to keep quiet
    8 Look at the wall not the activity in the street

  3. #3
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    Re: Please, please answer the questions!

    Did you know...

    The poem was published at the end of a short story called Hal O' the Draft. Reading it might help you put the poem in context. Here's the gist of the story:

    Dan and Una meet Sir Harry Dawe, one of the great architects and craftsmen of the early 16th century, who had been born and brought up in their valley. He tells the story of how he was given the job of restoring their local village church, St Barnabas'. He found the Sussex villagers strangely unhelpful. His friend Sebastian Cabot, was planning a voyage across the Atlantic; he had ordered guns for his ship from a local forge, and he too was finding it a frustrating experience, since there were constant delays, and implausible excuses for broken promises.

    Then they find that the local ironmasters are making guns secretly for Sir Andrew Barton, a pirate who sailed off the Sussex coast, and hiding them in the church before delivery. On the advice of a wise old local magistrate, Hal and Sebastian come down with soldiers and take the guns on the bland assumption that they are destined for Sebastian's ship. They take no legal action, which saves the necks of the conspirators, and Hal gets every help from the villagers thereafter.

    Hope that helps.

  4. #4
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    Harry Smith is offline Key Member
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    Re: Please, please answer the questions!

    I really appreciate the answers given above. I have nothing to add. Cheers!

  5. #5
    asad hussain is offline Member
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    Re: Please, please answer the questions!

    Many thanks for your help, Richard . I have two more questions. Firstly, is it correct to put 'at' in between 'get' and 'something hidden'? Secondly, I have to copy down the answers in my notebook. Can I put an 'equal sign' as you put in answer no. 4, or do I need to convert the mathematical statement into a grammatical sentence, like, 'The Gentlemen are the smugglers, King George's men are the authorities'? I have got a huge mass of confusion on my head. Could you please help me clear it?

    [I guess I have asked three questions.]


    And many thanks to Casiopea too.

    Harry, Thank you for your time.

  6. #6
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: Please, please answer the questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by asad hussain View Post
    1. Where do you imagine the story of this poem is set?
    2. Who is the speaker talking to? How can you tell whether they are male or female?
    3. What is the person being told?
    4. Who are ‘the Gentlemen’, and who are the ‘King George’s men’?
    5. Why do you think that the brandy-wine will be gone by the next day?
    6. Why is mother mending a coat with a wet lining?
    7. Whose dogs are Trusty and Pinchers? Why don’t they bark?
    8. What is meant by ‘watch the wall’ in this poem?
    This takes me back. It was set to music, and I used to sing it at school in the '50s. :humming:

    1 I agree with Tdol; somewhere coastal, obviously. Probably South Coast - maybe SW as Tdol suggests, also there was a lot of smuggler activity in the SE, where the Channel crossing was shorter (and the smugglers could use coastal vessels that might escape the attention of the authorities).
    2 Sounds to me like a mother talking to a child at bed-time - either sex.*
    3 Not to meddle with anything that might be involved with the smugglers' trade.
    4 I agree with Tdol, though I suspect 'King George's men' may refer in particular to the soldiers (?) who enforced the customs and excise law.
    5 The smugglers deliver the goods and hide them (maybe burying them). An apparently law-abiding citizen (with an alibi for the night of the delivery) knows where to find them - as Tdol said.
    6 One of the men in the child's house is a Gentleman, who tore his coat escaping from King George's men the previous night. It's wet, because smugglers preferred to work in bad weather - which would hide the sounds of their operations.
    7 I agree with Tdol; and maybe the training was quite easy, as the dogs recognize their owner among the smugglers.
    8 I agree with Tdol again - note Kipling's evocation of the scene (the excited child huddling under the blankets, peeping out at the flickering shadows on the wall).


    b

    ps * "pretty maid" - so definitely a girl
    Last edited by BobK; 13-Jan-2007 at 13:22. Reason: Added PS

  7. #7
    asad hussain is offline Member
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    Re: Please, please answer the questions!

    Can I aslo answer the second question like "The speaker is talking to his child.The terms 'Darling' and 'pretty maid' suggest the child is female."?

  8. #8
    asad hussain is offline Member
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    Re: Please, please answer the questions!

    And whose dogs are Trusty and Pinchers? The smuggler's or the Speaker's?

  9. #9
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: Please, please answer the questions!

    Quote Originally Posted by asad hussain View Post
    And whose dogs are Trusty and Pinchers? The smuggler's or the Speaker's?
    Both. The child's father is one of the smugglers.

    b

  10. #10
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Re: Please, please answer the questions!

    The story and poem are set on the Romney Marshes near Rye. Kipling lived in East Sussex and used it a lot in his stories.
    Last edited by Anglika; 14-Jan-2007 at 02:04.

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