On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness

Lesson 19

On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness: Arthur Guiterman

 

Summary

 

In on the Vanity of Earthly Greatness the poet makes us realize that earthly greatness is only for temporary purpose it decays md becomes meaningless along with passing time. Poet attacks over the people who are proud for their name, power and pelf (health).

 

Arthur says that the tusk of Mastodons had used to fight mighty wars but now they are used for billiard balls. The sword of Charlemagne has Tested, which was once used to expand Roman empire. People used to scare from the powerful hug of grizzly bear but at present its fur is used as rug. Roman statesman and general Julius Caesar is all powerful in his time but now a day people have kept is bust half statue) on the self. So, poet does not feel himself well although he is writer of his time.

 

To sum up, this poem exposes the bitter reality of human greatness. Or greatness is transitory and perishable. Passing time makes everything futile. So, it is worthless to be self-important. Wealth, beauty and power are all destructive. Irony is that people are unaware to the fact of meaninglessness of so-called power, pelf and beauty. All lure to surrender in front of mighty time, which is all powerful.



Short Answer Questions

 

1.What does the poem 'On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness' particularly express? (5)

 

2057 Q.No.5d, 2075 Partial E Q.No.5c and 2076 Partial D Q.No.5a

 

The poet shows the changes to the people and objects in the poem. He has shown this to reveal ironically about the transitory of human pride. The tusks of mastodons that fought powerful fights in the past have now become playthings (ie, billiard balls The brave emperor. Charlemagne's sword has now rusted. People were afraid of grizzly bear in the past but now its skin has changed into rug in the same way, the bust powerful Roman general is kept in the self. This shows that every powerful person or things become powerless with the passage of time. So the poet makes the fun of greatness of human beings and things. Every greatness becomes the subject of decay, death and worthless.

 


2. Summarize the poem "On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness" [5]

 

2067 Q.No.5c Partial, 2071 Set A Q.No.5d, 2074 Partial Set D Q.No.5b and 2075 Set A QNo.5d

 

On the Vanity of Worldly Things is a poem written by Arthur Guiterman, an American poet and journalist, is best known for his humorous verse. The poet laughs at the earthly greatness. The poet thinks that it is all useless to have pride over one's achievement and appearance. Through humor, he has tried to depict the reality of human beings and animals caused by the change in time. It shows the bitter reality that the power of animals or human beings doesn't remain same when time and situation change. We always run after reputation and prestige We become or want to be great and we think it will remain the same forever. We earn reputation and prestige and we think it will remain the same forever. We earn reputation and we think that the credit won't be lost but actually we won't think that is destroyed in due course of time. Our greatness is dismissed by time So, time laughs at our blindness and pride. He laughs at the human vanity by giving examples in the poem. Julius Caesar was a great warrior and a famous general statesman. He earned a great name and fame in his time through his strength and power. But that power lost its value with the change in the time and situation. His half statue is on the shelf. Similarly, the Roman Emperor Charlemagne won many wars by his sword. Now that sword has been rusted and is kept useless in the museum. Grizzly bear, whose embrace was very dreadful, has become nothing more than a rug to give warmth. Tusks of mighty brawls of mastodons have been changed into playing things like billiard balls. The given examples are concerned with the greatness but the greatness has been turned and reduced to valueless things. The vanity human greatness and animals’ strength have become a good subject to present irony. That irony makes one feel unwell and quite indifferent to the person. He laughs at these all-powerful beings as they lose their power and strength in the due time

 

 


3. How is human vanity laughed at in the poem 'On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness! [5]

 

2066 Q.No.5d and 2073 Supp Q.No.5c

 

"On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness" is a modem poem written by an American poet Arthur Guiterman. It is a flawless poem, which shows the remorselessness of time and the vanity of human greatness. The poet wants to say that we Poet says the powerful tusks of mighty creatures like elephant which used to flash in mighty brawls (fights) are now changing into billiard balls. Charlemagne the Just was a great king of Franks and Holy Roman emperor in ancient time, who had conquered many countries in fighting. His famous sword is now changing into the ferric oxide, called rust. The heavy and large brown bear whose potent hug was feared by all is now changing into a rug. People are using his skins and fur for their own purposes. The Bust of Julius Caesar, a famous Roman statesman and general, is locked in the self. Their greatness and vanity is nothing in these days So, at last poet, himself feels that he will face the same fate. The poet here tries to show the futility of earthly greatness. The greatness which we boast so much is destroyed by the powerful time.



4. What are the different examples used by the poet to show the vanity of earthly greatness? [5]

 

2064 Q.NO.5a

 

The poet, Arthur Guiterman, presents examples to show the vanity of earthly greatness in the poem. Tusks of mastodons, the sword of Charlemagne the Just, the grizzly bear, great Caesar are the examples brought forth in the poem tow show the excessive pride of these beings. The tusks of mastodons fought powerful fights in the past have become the playthings. The sword of Charlemagne the Just, the warring emperor, won him many countries, but now it has rusted Everyone was afraid of the powerful embrace of the grizzly bear, but now people sit comfortable on its fur The Great Caesar was the powerful general, but now his armless statue makes the people's drawing room beautiful. He feels same foe himself.



Long Answer Questions

 

5. Summarize the poem 'On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness’. [10]

 

2071 Set D Q.No.4c, 2072 Set C Q.No.4b and 2075 Partial D Q.No.4b

 

"On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness" is a modern poem written by an American poet Arthur Guiterman. it is a flawless poem, which shows the remorselessness of time and the vanity of human greatness. Through this poem, the poet announces his philosophy of life that all those entities that symbolize earthly grandeur, greatness and power such as the tusks of mastodons, the sword of Charlemagne the Just the grizzly bear, great Caesar and so on will be forgotten in the course of time. Thus, it's useless to have excessive pride over one's achievement and experience.

 

However great a man may be now; his greatness will be valueless in the future. Here in this poem the poet is trying to depict the extreme power of time which can easily wash the name, fame and greatness. The poet brings forth the examples of mastodons, the Roman Emperor Charlemagne, grizzly bear and the Great Julius Caesar to support this notion of transistorizes. According to the poet the tusks of mastodons used to fight powerful wars in the past are now playing objects. Similarly, the sword of the great Roman emperor who won many wars is now rusted Likewise, everyone was afraid of the grizzly when it was alive but now its fur has been used for sitting purpose. Finally, the great Julius Caesar was the powerful general of his time but now his armless statue has been used to decorate the room of the house. The poet here tries to show the futility vanity) of earthly greatness. The greatness which we boast so much is destroyed by the powerful time.

 

Thus, the poet is of the opinion that our name, fame, and greatness are noting because they will be collapsed in the course of time. The poet also satirizes the human supposition of being great and power-seeking tendencies in the modem age. This poem indirectly suggests that it is useless to be proud of our present achievement because the value of our greatness vanishes in the course of time.

 

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