Stanza Wise Summary of The Scholar Gipsy Poem
The Scholar Gipsy : Stanza 1 – The first stanza deals with the speaker telling the shepherd to finish his duty on feeding his flock of sheep. He tells the shepherd not leave the sheep unfed and must not leave them “bawling” or weeping which is evident in their tired throats. He further tells the shepherd to finish cropping the fields and he can only begin his quest to answer about the oxford scholar until everything has gone to rest and sleep.
Summary of The Scholar Gipsy Poem
Stanza 2– The stanza gives a beautiful visualization of the pastoral setting of the reaper who works till late night and leaves his garments on the field and the “sheaves” on the ground. The speaker states that he will wait and lay there and hear the bleating flock of sheep and the scenery of the reapers working hard tilling the field or enjoying this breath essence of summer’s life.
Stanza 3– In this stanza we get to know that it is the summer month of August and the speaker is going up the isolated half reaped field to see clearly the lands and scenery. He could see the blooming poppies and green roots and yellowing stalks . The poet intakes the incense of such beautiful scenery of rural area where he supposedly lays starring over the travel of “Oxford towers”.
Stanza 4– In this stanza, the speaker opens the book of Glanvil that describes the life story of the Oxford Scholar. He is reading again the old tale of the Oxford scholar who was educated with “inventive brain” who was tired of the modern day to day life. The speaker further states that the scholar left his friends and join the brotherhood of gipsy and many men consider him a good but he never returned back to his Oxford friends any more.
Stanza 5– It seems that the two scholars met the Oxford Scholar again after some years in the countryside. His friends asked him where was he and he replied them back that he was learning the art that the gipsy taught him. He believed that they have the art to control the brain and mind of the other people and can possible control them and make them do whatever they want them to do. He said to his two scholars that he will impart the knowledge of this art to the world when he learns it fully but it will require a specific or a right time for the skill to develop.
Stanza 6– In this stanza, the oxford scholar left his two scholar friends and depart and never met them again anymore. The speaker now highlights that there were some rumors about the oxford scholar who was last seen by the people in the country side who wore the simple dress in antique clothes and cloak which the gipsies wore. The shepherds had met him before in the Hurst in the alehouse in the Berkshire moors isolated who was seen by the boor seated while they enter.
Stanza 7– In this stanza, the search for the scholar continues where he looks with the shepherd. The speaker states that he drank and clatter for a while and he immediately leaves and disappear again from the alehouse. The speaker visualizes and seems to know his looks and put the shepherd on the charge to look around for the scholar. The speaker even saw the boys in the wheatfields asking them about the scholar who may have passed by. The speaker then later enjoys the scenery and the boat he is lying at the moment .
Stanza 8– In this stanza, the speaker is meditating that he knows his retiring place at ferry Oxford riders and loves secluded place. He was once saw by the Oxford people when they were out on a boat saw him crossing the river Thames at Bablock . He would put his fingers in the river and it seems that he looked very thoughtful at that time. He might have plucked some flowers and put on his lap from Wychwood bowers . He was fascinated by the world of nature but he did not talk to anybody.
Stanza 9 – In this stanza, the riders of Oxford crossed the river but he was not there anymore. Even the maidens nearby have seen him and was visible in the dark fields in the evening. He also was seen crossing a stile and he gives flowers to the maidens but he never spoke anything to them.
Stanza 10– In June During hay time, when many a scythe flashes in the bright sun and the bathers who passed the Godstow bridge who came to take a bath have seen the scholar sitting near the river bank filled with so many plants . The scholar was in a fragile health and wore the mysterious dress of a gipsy , dreamy eyes and the manners of someone who could easily drive them away. When the bathers came back , the scholar has gone away.
Stanza 11– The scholar was again seen by many people including the farmhouse in the Cumner Hills as well as the housewives who saw him looking at the threshing of the cornfields and the children also saw him in April saw him the grazing cows. He was seen again in the evening looking at the pastures.
Stanza 12– The scholar was seen in the Bagley wood where the gipsies put their smoky tents on it in Autumn. The clothes of the gipsies were hung on the trees for drying and the scholar himself was very fond of natural world where even the plants, animals and birds come very close to him . He moved with a weakly strength but overall waiting for some divine intervention.
Stanza 13– The speaker seems to have seen him in the causeway in the month of winter. We can observe how the scholar lived in the month of a snowy and cold winter season. He wore an old cloak on the wooden bridge to negotiate his journey to Hinksey . He goes to the mountain hill top to look at the Christ Church Hall which looked beautiful on the holiday season. He made a bed made from straws and goes to bed in an isolated granary.
Stanza 14– The speaker comes back to reality and wondered about his dream of the Oxford Scholar. He meditates that he has died two hundred years ago. He has heard some rumours about him that he left the University as well and it is impossible to have a long longevity and he might be buried in the churchyard where his grave must be filled with flowers and tall grasses.
Stanza 15– The speaker is mediating that the scholar is dead and its just a dream figure who knows no death. It is contrasted with the typical victorians where the victorians are essentially materialistic and engage themselves to many experiments with less patience. The speaker feels that the victorians becomes very weak and demotivated after their experiments fail and as a result blame their age and vitality of life. The y wonder about the Guardian Angel who would come and tell them what it would be like in the time of death.
Stanza 16– The speaker states that the life of Victorians is futile and produce meaningless pursuits. In contrast to the life of the Scholar, he lived a secluded and fruitful and productive lifestyle. He only had one aim in life which was the spiritual quest and he is immortal whatsoever. On can observe the life of the scholar who remains immortal because he dedicated his life to spiritual quest where age cannot wither his life and death cannot take him away. He did not waste his energy and life on experiments but on his idealism. He was unwavering in his ideal quest and hence he was not born to die but remained immortal.
Stanza 17– In this stanza, it becomes more evident about the character of the scholar. He died very young when his powers and idealism were not affected. He replaced materialistic life with spiritual life. Unlike the Victorians he was occupied with one aim and goal and had a very serene and calm mind. He was always happy and cheerful and had a good and steady vision and purpose in life in contrast with the Victorians.
Stanza 18– It is also contrasted very much with the Victorians. The scholar was very much minded with one purpose in life. He waited for a divine intervention. For the Victorians, their faith and belief is casual and never took religion seriously. They perform experiment regularly but are not steady as they leave and they suffer from series of disappointments. It is being contrasted to project that the Victorians do not have a single minded purpose in life and always leave their experiments when failure comes.
Stanza 19– In this stanza, the speaker brings forth Tennyson to justify the life of the Victorians. They wait for the divine intervention to help them but suffer various agony. He goes on to say that even the wisest has suffer and the intellectuals who are the kings of throne of England suffered in life. Someone like Tennyson also suffered heavily in his life where he hoped for the dim of light in life in the middle of the contemporary dilemma.
Stanza 20 – If this be the fate of the King of the intellectual throne of England , the plight of the common victorians may be easily imagined. To the typical victorians, life is veritably nightmare. There is a complete absence of happiness and serenity in their life. Their feelings are dead and hollow and has no sense of purpose in life. The speaker states that they cannot face the problems of life with unwavering it and one aim. The idea of depression and dullness is their destiny who can never hope to attain happiness and life like the scholar gipsy.
Stanza 21– The scholar belonged to an age where doubt and skepticism was free and the Victorians live in an age of skepticism. The speaker says that they have a disease called strange disease which has replaced spiritualism with materialism. One can see that the victorians are pursuing wealth and capital endlessly. Therefore, the speaker tells the Scholar to avoid the victorian modern life who are suffering from the infection of materialism and doubt. He tells him to run away like the princess Dido from Carthage who run away from the innerworld of Aeneas for he must live a secluded and isolated lifestyle far from the hustle and bustle modern life.
Stanza 22– The scholar gipsy should in the fitness of things live a secluded life . His inspiration will guide him. He should have draw strength and sustenance from the lovely objects of Nature. He should move about in moonlight when no one can disturb him. At times he may come out of the pastoral slope or recline on the moonlit fence and listen to the warblings of the nightangle from the garden full of fresh and perfumed flowers or the dark croft.
Stanza 23– The poet reiterates his request to the scholar gipsy to avoid the company of the Victorians who are suffering from the disease of modern society. The religious controversy of the age is manifested in the Oxford Movement which could not give nay happiness to the Victorians. They have all lost their mental equilibrium and distraught with doubt and confusion. Their vision is obscured and hence the speaker tells him to avoid them for he will become weak and fragile like the Victorians.
Stanza 24– The speaker advises the scholar gipsy to ignore the greetings and smile of the Victorians which seems to be deceptive. He introduces a Homeric smiles to emphasize his point. The grave Phoenician trader was the undisputed leader of the mercantile world. He once, while passing in his merchant vessel across the Mediterranean Sea discovered at sunrise the prow of ship approaching him, brushing aside the wet and cold creepers. The new ship belonged to the merry Greek and his merchandise consisted of the articles of luxury rather than the necessity. The Phoenician trader was hostile to the Greek and did not step to welcome him.
Stanza 25– The Phoenician merchant grew impatient. He seized their rudders, spread out the sails and hurriedly sailed away. He sailed on and on without rest to avoid the company of the merry Greek Merchant. He sailed on the mediterranean sea between the Syrtes and Sicily and reached the Atlantic ocean just outside the strails of Gibraltar. He on his arrival at the Coast of Spain, adjoining the dark cliffs dropped his sails. He unloaded his bales of cloth and merchandise before the dark Spaniards.
Read it also: Summary and Analysis of Go and Catch a Falling Star