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Chapter: 12th English : Poem : Incident of the French Camp

Incident of the French Camp | Poem | By Robert Browning | Study Material, Lecturing Notes, Assignment, Reference, Wiki description explanation, brief detail |

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English : Poem : Incident of the French Camp - By Robert Browning : Answer the following questions (English Book back answers and solution for Exercise questions)

1.  Fill in the blanks choosing the words from the box given and complete the summary of the poem.

The poet Robert Browning narrates an incident at the French Camp in the war of 1809 between France and Austria, in a (a) dramatic version. He describes the brave action of a (b) valiant soldier, whose heroic devotion to duty and his (c) pride in it is inspiring and worthy of (d) admiration. During the attack of the French army on Ratisbon, Napoleon was anxious about the (e) result. Austrians were defending Ratisbon with great determination and courage. Napoleon was watching the war standing on a (g) mound near the battlefield.

All of a sudden a rider appeared from the closed smoke and dust. Riding at great speed, jumping and leaping, he approached the mound where Napoleon stood. As he came closer, the narrator noticed that the rider, a young boy, was severely wounded. But the rider showed no sign of pain and smiling in joy, jumped off the horse and gave the happy news of (h) victory to the emperor.

He exclaimed with pride that French had (i) conquered Ratisbon and he himself had hoisted the flag of France. When Napoleon heard the news, his plans (j) soared up like fire. His eyes (k) softened when he saw that the soldier was severely wounded. Like a caring mother eagle, the emperor asked if he was wounded. The (l) wounded soldier replied proudly that he was killed and died heroically.


 

2.  Based on your understanding of the poem, answer the following questions in one or two sentences each.

a.  Who do you think is the narrator of the poem?

I think, the poet or one of the French soldiers is the narrator of the poem.

b.  Where was the narrator when the incident happened?

The narrator was at the French camp in the war of 1809 between France and Austria.

c.  Who took the city of Ratisbon by storm?

The French army took the city of Ratisbon by storm.

d.  Where was Napoleon standing on the day of attack on the city of Ratisbon?

Napoleon was standing on a mound near the battlefield on the day of attack on the city of Ratisbon.

e.  Describe the posture of Napoleon.

Napoleon was standing on a mound with neck out thrust, legs wide, arms locked behind and with his balanced prone eye brows.

f.  Who came galloping on a horse to Napoleon?

A French soldier came galloping on a horse to Napoleon.

g.  What does the phrase ‘full galloping’ suggest?

The pharse full galloping suggests fastest running of the horse.

h.  Why was the rider in a hurry?

The rider was in a hurry to convey the news of victory to the emperor before his death.

i.  What did the rider do when he reached Napoleon?

The rider showed no sign of pain and smiling in joy. He jumped off the horse and announced the happy news of victory to the emperor.

j.  Why did the rider keep his lips compressed ?

The rider feared that any blood would come thorugh his mouth. So he kept his lips compressed.

k.  Where did the rider plant the French flag after Ratisbon was captured?

The rider planted the French flag in the market place of Ratisbon.

l.  What was Napoleon’s reaction on hearing the news of victory?

On hearing the news of victory, a sparkle of joy and satisfication came to Napoleon’s eyes.

m.  When did the narrator find that the boy was badly wounded?

As soon as Napoleon heard the news of victory, he found that the boy was badly wounded.

n.  Why did Napoleon’s eyes become soft as a mother eagle’s eyes?

The boy was the badly wounded. On seeing him, Napoleon’s eyes became soft as a mother eagle’s eyes.

o.  How did the young soldier face his end?

The young soldier fought for his country. He was killed and fell down dead by the side of Napoleon.

 

3. Literary Devices

Mark the rhyme scheme of the poem. The rhyme scheme for the first stanza is as follows.

With neck out-thrust, you fancy how,        a

Legs wide, arms locked behind,                  b

As if to balance the prone brow                 a

Oppressive with its mind.                          B

i)  Alliteration:   “Alliteration   is the repetition of the same consonant sound in successive or nearby words.” Note that in alliteration the sound and sense go together. For example,

Let once my army-leader Lannes Waver at yonder wall’,

In the first line, /l/ is repeated (Let- leader-Lannes), and in the second line /w/ is repeated (waver- wall). Find out two more instances of alliteration.

ii)  Synecdoche: “A figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice-versa”. For example, You know, we French stormed Ratisbon.

Here, the word ‘French’ refers to the country and not the army.

 

4.  Read the lines given below and answer the questions that follow.


a)  Legs wide, arms locked behind, 

As if to balance the prone brow 

Oppressive with its mind.

i.  Whose action is described here?

The French general Napoleon’s action is described he

ii.  What is meant by prone brow?

The French general Napoleon was seriously thinking about the news of his country’s victory. It is meant by prone brow.

iii.  What is his state of mind?

Napoleon was very anxious.


b)  ‘You’re wounded!’ ‘Nay’, his soldier’s pride

Touched to the quick, he said:

i.  Why did the boy contradict Napoleon’s words?

Napoleon thought that the boy was wounded but really he was going to die so the boy contradicted Napoleon’s words.

ii.  Why was his pride touched?

He was killed and died heroically in the battlefield.  Before his death, he had a chance to convey the news of their victory to his general. So his pride was touched.


c)  A film the mother-eagle’s eye

When her bruised eaglet breathes

i.  Who is compared to the mother eagle in the above lines?

The French general Napoleon is compared to the mother eagle in the above lines.

ii.  Explain the comparison.

On seeing the wounded soldier the feelings of Napoleon were just like those of the mother eagle who becomes sad when she finds her young ones badly bruised on the verge of death.


d)  Explain the following lines with reference to the context.

i.  Then off there flung in smiling joy, And held himself erect

ii.  ‘I’m killed, Sire!’ And, his Chief beside, Smiling, the boy fell dead.

iii.  To see your flag-bird flap his vans Where I, to heart’s desire, Perched him!’

 

Additional Questions

a. You know, we French stormed Ratisbon:

A mile or so away,

On a little mound, Napoleon 

Stood on our storming-day;

i. Who does ‘we’ refer to ?

We refers to the French Soldiers.

ii. Mention the figure of speech mentioned in this line?

Figure of speech: Synecdoche (Here, the word ‘French’ refers to the country and not the army.)

iii. By whom was Ratisbon stormed?

Ratisbon was stormed by the soldiers of France.

iv. Who is the narrator of the poem?

The poet is the narrator of this poem.

v. Where did Napoleon stand?

Napoleon stood on a mound.

vi. How far did he stand?

He stood a mile away.


b. With neck out-thrust, you fancy how,

Legs wide, arms locked behind,

As if to balance the prone brow 

Oppressive with its mind.

i. Describe the posture of Napoleon.

His neck was extended forward. His leg was wide and arms locked.

ii. Mention the figure of speech in this lines?

Figure of speech: Simile.

iii. How was his eye brow?

His eye brow was inclined downward.


c. Just as perhaps he mused, ‘My plans

That soar, to earth may fall,

Let once my army-leader Lannes Waver at yonder wall ’,

i. Who does ‘he’ refer to?

‘He’ refers to Napoleon, 

ii. Who was the chief of French army?

Lannes was the chief of the French army.

iii. Why did Napoleon stand on a mound?

Napoleon stood on a mound in order to know about the result of the battle.


c. Out ‘twixt the battery-smokes there flew .

A rider, bound on bound Full-galloping: nor bridle drew

Until he reached the mound.

i. Who appearrd from the Clouds of smoke and fire?

A rider [a small boy/a young soldier] appeared form the clouds of smoke and fire.

ii. What does the phrase‘full-galloping’ suggest?

The phrase ‘full-galloping’ suggests the fastest running of the horse.

iii. Why was the rider in a hurry ?

As the rider was severely wounded, he wanted to convey his victory news before his death. So the rider was in a hurry.


d. Then off there flung in smiling joy.

And held himself erect

By just his horse’s mane, a boy:

You hardly could suspect -

i. How was the rider, after he reached the mound?

The rider was very happy with smiling face.

ii. How tall the boy was?

The boy was as high as the horse’s mane.


e. So tight he kept his lips compressed,

Scarce any blood came through

You looked twice ere you saw his breast fYas all but shot in two.

i. How did he keep his lip?

He kept his lip tight and compressed.

ii. Was he shot at the battle? How?

He was shot twice on his breast at he battle.


f. Perched him!’ The Chief’s eye flashed; his plans Soared up again like fire.

i. Mention the figure of speech in the above line.

Figure of speech: Simile.

ii. What is compared to fire?

The chiefs plans are compared to fire.


g. ‘I’m killed, Sire!’And, his Chief beside,

Smiling, the boy fell dead.

i. Where did the boy die?

The boy died beside his chief.

ii. What happened at last?

At last the boy fell down and dead for his country.


4. Explain the following lines with reference to the context.

i. Then off there flung in smiling joy,

And held himself erect

Context : These lines are taken from the poem ‘Incident of the French camp’ written by ‘Robert Browning’

I Explanation : In the given lines, the poet appreciates the attitude of the soldier. Though he was badly wounded, he displayed an extraordinary courage, confidence and self-control with a smiling face.

Comment : The poem describes an act of patriotism and sacrifice of a young French soldier.


ii. ‘I 'm killed, Sire! ’ And, his Chief beside, Smiling, the boy fell dead

Context : This lines are taken from the poem ‘Incident of the French camp’ written by‘Robert Browning’

Explanation : In the given lines, the poet appreciates the heroic behaviour of the young soldier. He showed no sign of pain and smiling in joy, jumped off the horse and gave the happy news of victory to the emperor. Like a caring mother eagle, the emperor asked if he was wounded. The wounded soldier replied proudly that he was killed and he fell down dead heroically.

Comment : The poem describes an act of patriotism and sacrifice of a young French soldier.


iii. To see your flag--bird flap his vans

where I, to heart's desire

Perchased him!'

Context : These lines are taken from the poem ‘Incident of the French camp’ written by ‘Robert Browning’

Explanation : In the given lines, the poet shows the happiness of the wounded young soldier. The French had conquered Ratisbon. The young soldier was in a hurry to convey the news of victory to the emperor before his death. He reached his general and told that he himself had hoisted the flag of France at the market place Ratisbon with heartful desire.

Comment The poem describes an act of patriotism and sacrifice of a young French soldier.


5.  Answer the following questions in about 100–150 words each.

a.  The young soldier matched his emperor in courage and patriotism. Elucidate your answer.

During the attack of the French army on Ratisbon, Napoleon was anxiously waiting for the result. He was standing on a mound with his neck out thrust, legs wide, arms locked behind and with his balanced prone eye brows. Then a young soldier appeared from the closed smoke and dust. He seemed to be a little boy. Though he was a boy, he wanted to fight for his country. He came galloping on a horse to Napoleon. He never minded his wounds. He knew that his emperor is waiting for the result. He was in a hurry to convey the news of victory to the emperor before his death. But he showed no sign of pain and smiling in joy. He jumped off the horse and informed the happy news. He announced that the French army had conquered Ratisbon and also he himself had planted the French flag in the market place of Ratisbon. As Napoleon always thought of his nation’s victory, the boy too thought of the nation’s victory. As Napoleon’s strategy led to the success, the boy’s courage and patriotism also led to the success. Thus the young soldier matched his emperor in courage and patriotism.


b. What is the role of the young soldier in the victory of the French at Ratisbon?

During the attack of the French army on Ratisbon, Napoleon was anxiously waiting for the result. He was standing on a mound near the battlefield. Then a young soldier appeared from the closed smoke and dust. He came galloping on a horse to Napoleon. He was severely wounded. He was in a hurry to convey the news of victory to the emperor before his death. But he showed no sign of pain and smiling in joy. He jumped off the horse and informed the happy news. He announced that the French army had conquered Ratisbon and also he himself had planted the French flag in the market place of Ratisbon. On hearing the news of victory, a sparkle of joy and satisfication came to Napoleon’s eyes. Napoleon’s eyes became soft as a mother eagle’s eyes, when he noticed the wounds of the soldier. He asked the soldier if he was wounded. He replied proudly that he was killed and he fell down dead heroically. Thus the young soldier fought for his country and showed his patriotism.


c. Napoleon was a great source of inspiration to his army. Justify.

There was war between France and Austria in 1809. Napoleon devised some strategies for their victory and assigned his general Lannes to do it. During the attack of the French army in Ratisbon, Napoleon was anxiously watching the war standing on a mound near the battlefield. Though he was anxious, he stood with his neck out thrust, legs wide, arms locked behind and with his balanced prone eye brows. He was seriously thinking of his future strategies. His patriotism, courage and strategies were a great inspiration to his army. When a young wounded soldier announced him the news of victory, he exclaimed with pride and joy. His plans soared up like fire. Soon his eyes became soft as a mother eagle’s eyes, when he noticed the wounds of the soldier. Fie asked the soldier if he was wounded. The soldier replied that he was killed. He did it for his country and his emperor. Though the soldier’s renly made him worry, Napoleon felt proud of him. Thus Napoleon was great inspiration to his army.



ESSAY

• Introduction

• Anxious Napoleon

• Arrival of the soldier

• News of Victorv

• Heroical death

• Conclusion

Introduction:

Robert Browning narrates an incident at the French Camp in the war of 1809 between France and Austria. He describes the brave action of a valiant young soldier.

Anxious Napoleon:

During the attack of the French army on Ratisbon, Napoleon was anxiously waiting for the result. Fie was standing on a mound with his neck out thrust, legs wide, arms locked behind and with his balanced prone eye brows.

Arrival of the soldier:

A young soldier appeared from the closed smoke and dust. He came galloping on a horse to Napoleon. He was severely wounded. He was in a hurry to convey the news of victory to the emperor before his death. But he showed no sign of pain and smiling in joy. He jumped off the horse and informed the happy news.

News of Victory:

He announced that the French army had conquered Ratisbon and also he himself had planted the French flag in the market place of Ratisbon.

Heroical death:

On hearing the news of victory, a sparkle of joy and satisfication came to Napoleon’s eyes. His plans soared up like fire. Napoleon’s eyes became soft as a mother eagle’s eyes, when he noticed the wounds of the soldier. He asked the soldier if he was wounded. He replied proudly that he was killed and he fell down dead heroically.

Conclusion:

Thus the young soldier fought for his country i showed his patriotism.

Ask not what your country can do for you; Ask what you can do for your country.


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