? asked in Arts & HumanitiesPoetry · 4 weeks ago

"Nobility" by Alice Cary?

In "Nobility"by Alice Cary, there are some lines beyond my understanding, can anybody help?

Stanza 2 

The air for the wing of the sparrow,

   The bush for the robin and wren,

But always the path that is narrow

     And straight, for the children of men.

Stanza 3 

      Tis not in the pages of story

           The heart of its ills to beguile

Stanza 5

        Through envy, through malice, through hating,

          Against the world early and late,

        Not jot of our courage abating--

        Our part is to work and to wait.

Can anybody explain these lines?

Thanks a lot.

1 Answer

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  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    For your Stanza 2 passage: Just as the air and the bushes are the proper natural places for birds to be, then "straight and narrow path" is the right place for human beings to be -- it's a biblical metaphor for living a good and just life: the right way for humans to live is to be good and not evil, or to live with (as the title of the poem suggests) "nobility."

    For Stanza 3: Story, fiction, imagination, wishing, cannot cure your heart of its illnesses, of its sadness. Escapism won't make you truly happy.

    For stanza 5: Our "part" (our job in life) is to work against evils like envy, malice, and hate, while keeping up our courage and not letting it "abate" (get weaker). We just have to keep working against those bad things and wait -- be patient -- until they are defeated.

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