Reading Poetry Practice Exercises: GED Language Arts, Reading (page 2)

Updated on Mar 9, 2011

Passage 2

The following poem is by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

      The Eagle
      He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
      Close to the sun in lonely lands,
      Ring'd with the azure world, he stands.
      The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
      He watches from his mountain walls,
      And like a thunderbolt he falls.
  1. Given the tone of the poem, and noting especially the last line, what is the eagle most likely doing in the poem?
    1. dying of old age
    2. hunting prey
    3. learning joyfully to fly
    4. sleeping peacefully
    5. keeping watch over a nest of young eagles
  2. To which of the following do the words azure world most likely refer?
    1. a forest
    2. the sky
    3. the cliff
    4. a grassy field
    5. nature
  3. In line 1 of stanza 2, to which of the following does the verb crawls refer?
    1. waves
    2. sunlight on the water
    3. the eagle's prey
    4. the eagle
    5. an eaglet
  4. The first line of this poem is an example of
    1. rhyme scheme.
    2. irony.
    3. alliteration.
    4. stanza.
    5. symbolism.
  5. The last line of the poem is an example of
    1. personification.
    2. metaphor.
    3. paradox.
    4. falling action.
    5. simile.

Passage 3

The following poem is by Sir Walter Scott.

      Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
      Who never to himself hath said,
        "This is my own, my native land!"
      Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned
      As home his footsteps he hath turned
        From wandering on a foreign strand?
      If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
      For him no Minstrel raptures swell;
      High though his titles, proud his name,
      Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;
      Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
      The wretch, concentred all in self,
      Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
      And, doubly dying, shall go down
      To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
      Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.
  1. What is the thesis of this poem?
    1. Those who do not love their country will not be honored.
    2. The poorest citizens are the truest patriots.
    3. Those who become rich must hate their country.
    4. Wandering around the world helps us love home.
    5. Patriotism is the last refuge for scoundrels.
  2. What is the most likely meaning of the word pelf in line 11?
    1. stealth
    2. animal skins
    3. wealth
    4. to steal
    5. poverty
  3. What does the poem mean when it states that such people will be doubly dying?
    1. They will not die alone.
    2. They will die, then rise again.
    3. Their death will be painful.
    4. Their death will be painless.
    5. They will die physically and also be forgotten.
  4. One can infer from this poem that Sir Walter Scott
    1. hated America.
    2. loved his homeland.
    3. was from Great Britain.
    4. spoke many languages.
    5. was a traitor to his homeland.
  5. What does the word concentred in line 12 most likely mean?
    1. swirling, curved
    2. arrogant, proud
    3. focused, centered
    4. loathsome, wayward
    5. none of the above

Passage 4

The following poem is by William Shakespeare.

      Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
      Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
      Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
      And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
      Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
      And often is his gold complexion dimm'd,
      And every fair from fair sometime declines,
      By chance, or nature's changing course untrimm'd:
      But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
      Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest,
      Nor shall death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
      When in eternal lines to time thou growest,
        So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
        So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
  1. This poem is an example of
    1. a limerick.
    2. a sonnet.
    3. an anapest.
    4. an ode.
    5. free verse.
  2. What does it mean that summer's lease hath all too short a date?
    1. The warm weather of summer doesn't last long.
    2. People who rent houses for the summer don't stay long.
    3. Summer is just around the corner.
    4. Enjoy your youth while you're young.
    5. The warm weather of summer is overbearing.
  3. What is the eye of heaven?
    1. a god
    2. birds
    3. the moon
    4. the sun
    5. a constellation
  4. This poem is probably written to
    1. someone that owes the poet money.
    2. someone who wishes for immortality.
    3. the poet's mother.
    4. the reader.
    5. someone whom the poet loves romantically.
  5. What do the last two lines refer to?
    1. death
    2. resurrection
    3. the fact that all men die
    4. the poem itself, which will live forever
    5. birth

Passage 5

The following excerpt is from "Charge of the Light Brigade," by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

      "Forward, the Light Brigade!"
      Was there a man dismayed?
      Not though the soldier knew
      Some one had blundered:
      Theirs not to make reply,
      Theirs not to reason why,
      Theirs but to do and die:
      Into the valley of Death
      Rode the six hundred.
      Cannon to right of them,
      Cannon to left of them,
      Cannon in front of them
      Volleyed and thundered;
      Stormed at with shot and shell,
      Boldly they rode and well,
      Into the jaws of Death,
      Into the mouth of Hell
      Rode the six hundred.
  1. This poem is describing
    1. soldiers charging into war.
    2. old-fashioned weapons.
    3. a hot desert area.
    4. a veterinarian healing an animal.
    5. soldiers shying away from a battle.
  2. The word blundered in line 4 most likely means
    1. a poetical form.
    2. the entrance to something.
    3. a mistake.
    4. an old-fashioned gun.
    5. wondered.
  3. What does it mean that it was theirs not to reason why?
    1. The soldiers don't know how to fight.
    2. The horses are dangerous.
    3. Obedience is foolish.
    4. The men obeyed, even though it meant certain death.
    5. The men disobeyed orders.
  4. The phrases jaws of Death and mouth of Hell are examples of
    1. cadence.
    2. personification.
    3. alliteration.
    4. iambic pentameter.
    5. simile.
  5. What is the author's purpose in this poem?
    1. to describe the stupidity of war
    2. to honor soldiers who died
    3. to tell a story
    4. to make fun of Napoleon Bonaparte
    5. to describe a battle
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