CIE "Songs of Ourselves" Key Quotes

Cambridge English Literature Poetry Anthology "Songs of Ourselves" Key Quotes from each poem; for I/GCSE use.

Sorry about the massive gap between lines but I can't get rid of it. In the actual poems the gap is the normal size for a change in paragraph.

HideShow resource information

Thomas Hardy: The Voice, Allen Curnow: Time

"The Voice" by Thomas Hardy

"Woman much missed, how you call to me, call to me."

Hardy writing about his deceased wife and remembering their time together. He thinks that he can hear her speaking to him when in fact it is all in his head. A very sad and emotional poem.

"Time" by Allen Curnow

"Am island, am sea, am father, farm and friend,

Though I am here, all things my coming attend;

I am, you have heard it, the Beginnning and the End.

1 of 13

Matthew Arnold: Dover Beach

"Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold

"Ah love, let us be true

To one another! for the world which ...

Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain."

Arnold writing about the depressing state of the world and how we need to hold one to love because it seems to be fading fast in society.

2 of 13

Adrienne Rich: Amends - Quite Possibly gnna b in E

"Amends" by Adrienne Rich

"as it soaks through cracks into the trailers

tremulous with sleep

as it dwells upon the eyelids of the sleepers

as if to make amends."

The protagonist in this poem is the starlight and the moonlight and Rick is writing about how the beauty of those two things almost makes up for the mess that we have made of this world.

3 of 13

Ted Hughes: Full Moon and Little Frieda

"Full Moon and Little Frieda" By Ted Hughes

" 'Moon!' you cry suddenly, 'Moon! Moon!'

The moon has stepped back like an artist gazing amazed at a work

That points at him amazed.

Frieda is Hughes' daughter of about two and he is writing about her firist reaction to seeing the moon; her innocence and uses a clever metaphor.

4 of 13

Gillian Clarke: Lament - Quite possibly gnna b in

"Lament" by Gillian Clarke

"For the burnt earth and the sun put out

the scalded ocean and the blazing well

For vengeance, and the ashes of language"

Laid out like a sort of toast and talking about the state of out world, global warming, and how the English language is being belittled.

5 of 13

John Keats: On the Grasshopper and the Cricket

"On the Grasshopper and the Cricket" by John Keats

"The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever,

And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,"

The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.

"The poetry of the earth is never dead."

"The poetry of the earth is ceasing never."

Praise for little insects and their songs that can make even the dullest day brighter. Keats is writing about how even if there are less people writing poetry and songs there will always be the natural song of these bugs.

6 of 13

Vachel Lindsay: The Flower-Fed Buffaloes

"The Flower-Fed Buffaloes" by Vachel Lindsay

"But the flower-fed buffaloes of the spring

Left us long ago.

They gore no more, the bellow no more,

They trundle around the hills no more:"

Talking about the buffaloes and how the world has changed so much.

"The flower-fed buffaloes of the spring

In the days of long ago,

Ranged where the locomotives sing

And the prairie flower lie low;"

7 of 13

Boey Kim Cheng: Report to Wordworth

"Report to Wordsworth" by Boey Kim Cheng

"Poetry and piety have begun to fail,

as Nature's mighty heart is lying still.

O see the wound widening in the sky,

God is labouring to utter His last cry."

Cheng writing about how humans are destroying the world around us and how it is getting wore over time. He calls him to come back and sort out the mess because Wordsworth was a massive fan of Mother Nature. 

"You should be here, Nature has need of you. 

She has been laid waste. Smothered by the smog." 

8 of 13

John Clare: First Love

"First Love" by John Clare

"I ne'er was struck before that hour 

With Love so sudden and so sweet

her face it bloomed like a sweet flower 

And stole my heart away complete."

Clare speaking about when he first felt love and how it overwhelmed him. 

"I never saw so sweet a face

As that I stood before

My heart has left its dwelling place

And can return no more - "

9 of 13

Dennis Scott: Marrysong

Marrysong" by Dennis Scott

"He never learned her, quite. Year after year

That territory, without seasons shifted under his eye."

Scott writing about how this man's wife is so complicated and whenever he tries to understand her (using the metaphor of a map) she keeps changing her mind about stuff (the territory keeps moving). 

"So he accepted that geography, constantly strange.

Wondered. Stayed home increasingly to find 

his way among the landscapes of her mind." 

Continuing to write about how even though he has not yet succeeded in understanding his wife; he still carries on regardless and gives up his time for her. 

10 of 13

George Gordon, Lord Byron

"So we'll go no more A-roving" by George Gordon, Lord Byron

"So we'll go no more a-roving

So late into the night, 

Though the heart be still as loving 

And the moon be still as bright"

Lord Byron talking about how he is too old now to go out and enjoy himself like most young people do. Although his feelings haven't changed and the world around him is still the same. 

"For the sword outwears its sheath 

And the soul wears out the breast,

And the heart must have pause to breathe ..."

11 of 13

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Sonnet 43 - Quite poss

"Sonnet 43" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning 

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! -"

Browning listing all of the ways in which she loves her partner.

"In my old griefs,... and with my childhood's faith: 

I love thee with the love I seemed to lose."

Writing about how when she lost her love and faith in God, she finds that sort of love again whenever she is with this man

"With my lost saints, - I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life! - and, if God choose,

"I shall love thee better after death."

She shall love him even more when she is dead. 

12 of 13

Edna St Vincent Millay: Sonnet 29

"Sonnet 29" by Edna St Vincent Millay

"Pity me that the heart is slow to learn 

When the swift mind beholds at every turn."

She starts most of the lines in the poem with "pity me not" because she is getting old and knows that her partner is not as attracted to her as he once was. However in this short part she asks that you only pity her because her mind is able to understand what is going on but her heart is finding it more difficult.

"Nor that a man's desire is hushed so soon,

And you no longer look with love on me." 

Writing about how she knows that her partner does no love her as much as he once did and that the effects of old age are taking their toll. 

13 of 13




You're summary of Dover Beach isn't right, it's about Arnold questioning his religion.

Similar English Literature resources:

See all English Literature resources »