Brassed Off Britannia

Brassed Off Britannia

For a moan about the state of Britain and the World




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 Post subject: GCSE EXAMS
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:52 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:21 am
Posts: 3402
Location: Surrey
One of my daughters has the job of helping children who have trouble reading or writing etc to complete their GCSE exam papers - she doesn't answer the questions just reads them and/ or writes what they tell her to; this led, today, to a general discusion on GCE exams - as they were when we sat them 60 or so years ago - and brought to mind a poem that I had to study and which has stayed with me for more than 60 years, Thomas Grays Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard - written almost 300 years ago - the first few verses are:

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
  The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
  And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
  And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
  And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds:

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower
  The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
  Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
  Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
  The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
  The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
  No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed

I have sat in such a churchyard at dusk and mused over the poem.
I still recall the effort my English Lit teacher put into making sure we learned (and understood) it.

 Post subject: Re: GCSE EXAMS
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 8:24 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:35 am
Posts: 5976
Location: Fleurieu, South Australia
Maybe this indicates that the education we decried at the time bears fruit we never imagine in a host of ways, later in life.
I hated Latin for three years, warmed to it in fourth year high, and now rejoice in the abilities it gives me in employing my vocabulary.

Love people, use things - not the opposite.

 Post subject: Re: GCSE EXAMS
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2018 10:49 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:56 pm
Posts: 9404
Location: Lake District, England
I never learnt it by heart but I've always loved that poem and wondered at Gray's grasp of the language to create such perfect imagery.

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