The Patriot Summary and Important Questions

Study Material

Students can refer to the The Patriot Summary Treasure Trove ICSE Class 10 which has been prepared for ICSE Class 10 English Students based on the latest syllabus and examination guidelines issued by ICSE. Students are requested to read and download these study notes for each chapter and topic and use them for understanding each important topic and also practice questions to get better marks in exams. You can also refer to the ICSE Class 10 Engish book for more details and after going through the summary trying solving ICSE Class 10 English Sample Papers

ICSE Class 10 The Patriot Summary

Students should refer to the summary provided below for The Patriot, this is an important chapter in ICSE Class 10 English book. You can refer to all Treasure Trove Poem Summary provided on our website. These have been prepared based on the latest books and syllabus issued by ICSE.

The Patriot Summary Treasure Trove and Questions

The Poem:
Robert Browning’s ‘The Patriot’ is a brilliant to piece of dramatic verse. It deals with the inconsistent or fickle minded public and its fast changing opinions. The same public who lift you to the sky, can pull you down into the ditch. The same happens with the speaker of the verse here. But the poem ends optimistically. Although the speaker is looked down upon by the public, he is not pessimistic. He has faith in God. The patriot hopes that he will be rewarded in the other world although he is not rewarded here. Thus, the poem becomes the expression of hope as Browning believed ‘God is in heaven and all’s right in with the world’. This poem is also a criticism of politics and people’s opinion.

The Poetess:
Robert Browning was born in Italy in 1812. He was influenced by Shelley., Keats and Byson and by his Elizabeth Beret, a senior poet and whom he married in 1846 and lived happily here after. He was also considered as Tennyson’s rival. The poetry of Browning develops the dramatic monologue to its greatest heights. His first poem was published in 1833, but it was in 1835, his poem Paracelsus became a success and his status as a poet was established. Gradually he developed the dramatic monologue to its greatest heights. In 1836, he published his famous poem ‘Porphyria’s Lover’ followed by his most famous poem ‘My Last Duchess’ in 1842. His fine art is essentially moral and religious. He was interested in human psychology. Some of his other poems are Dramatic Lyrics, Men and Women, Dramatic Personae and The Ring and The Book. He developed the dramatic monologue to its heights.

The Poem in Detail:
Stanza – 1:
The speaker is a patriot who narrates the story of his golden past. He remembers a day when just a year ago, he had received a grand welcome from the public. People filled his path with roses and myrtle. They filled the roads, roof tops to hail him. The church spires were decorated with flags. This had happened just a year back on the same day.

Stanza – 2:
Describing his welcome just a year ago, the speaker says that the sound of bells filled the air. The old walls of the houses seemed to be cracking with the shouts of welcome of the public. Remembering that grand and heartening welcome, the speaker says if on that day, he had said that he wanted the sun not the shouts of public, they would have readily agreed to it.

Stanza – 3:
The speaker now regrets that it was he, who ‘leaped at the sun’ and tried to offer it to his friends to keep. (Here it is not clear whether he did something very bad or was misunderstood by the public). He had done everything, that a man could do. He asks the listeners or the readers to see what he had done, its result and the fruits are such that he is abandoned by everyone. He is now all alone and he feels dejected.

Stanza – 4:
A year has passed. Now, when he is passing by the same road, there is nobody on the roof tops, except some sick people at the windows. This day, for everyone the best sight will be at the shambles gate or by the scaffold’s foot, where he will be executed.

Stanza – 5:
Now, the speaker is alone and moving towards his end in the rain. His wrist is so tightly bound that they cut the skin. The public once hailing him with words of welcome and flowers is throwing stones at him for the misdeeds committed by him in the last year although it is not clarified what wrong he did.

Stanza – 6:
The poem ends in an optimistic note and he is ready to enter the life after death. He has resigned himself to his fate. He thinks that in victory and success, people drop down dead, perhaps paid by the world. ‘God may ask him what’ he owes to God. Now the situation is different. He believes he may not have been given credit by the public in this world, but God will help him, save him and he will get his reward in another life.

Literary Devices:
i. Structure:
This poem is a dramatic monologue. In a dramatic monologue. There is one speaker, other than the poet, who delivers his / her speech in a situation that makes up the whole poem.
The rhyming scheme of the poem is consistent and follows a strict a b a b a pattern.

ii. Alliteration:
(v) With myrtle mixed in my path like mad
(vi) In triumphs people have dropped down dead.

iii. Metaphor:
The use of roses by the people for the hero symbolize love and respect of the people and roses and myrtle have been metaphorically used. Then the speaker says:
‘And you see my harvest what I reap’
It shows the change in people’s minds regarding the speaker, whom they are going to see being executed and their minds are changed totally. They don’t love and honor him now, although according to the speaker, he has done everything for the good of those people who are going to crucify him.

iv. Personification:
“The house roofs seemed to heave and sway”.
Here house roofs are personified. They are given the characteristics of human beings of swaying and heaving.

v. Hyperbole:
It is an exaggerated statement of a certain object or thing or idea. Here in the poem, the patriot says that ‘the people would have given him the sun’ if he had asked, which is an example of Hyperbole.

vi. Imagery:
In this poem, there are contrasting images presented by the speaker. The public has welcomed the patriot with roses and myrtle and just a year after the same public throws stones at him.
One year back, according to the patriot, the roof tops ‘seemed to heave and sway’ that is, they were filled with people shouting welcome to the patriot, and now just after a year, the same roof-tops are empty when he is taken to be executed.

myrtle – sweet smelling flower, like mad – greatly enthusiastic, heave – breathe heavily, sway – rise and fall, move this way or that way.
Church spires – tall, pointed structures on the top of church buildings.
Yonder – over there. Alack – alas, leaped-jumped,
naught – nothing,
Leaped at the sun – tried to do the impossible.
harvest – reward. A year is run – A year has passed.
A palsied few – A few people afflicted with paralysis.
All allow – Everyone admits.
Shamble’s Gait – The gate leading to the place of execution. Foot – near.
Scaffold – a platform, where the criminal is executed by cutting of his head or hanging him by a rope.
More than needs – unnecessarily.
By the feel – from the feeling.
Misdeeds – evil actions.
Thus, I entered – in this way I entered the city.
Thus, I go – I am leaving as a disgraced person.
Collapse – die, faint.
Triumphs – successes
What dost thou owe me – What do you owe me.
Requite – reward.

(1) Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
      It was roses, roses, all the way,
     With myrtle mixed in my path like mad,
     The house – roofs seemed to heave and sway,
     The church spires flamed, such flags they had
     A year ago, on this very day.
     The air broke into mist with bells
     The old walls rocked with the crowd and cries
     Had I said “Good folk, mere noise repels –
     But give me your sun from yonder skies!”
     They had answered, “And afterward what else.

1. Who is the speaker of the above lines? Why is his path filled with roses?
A1. The speaker of the above lines is a patriot who narrates the story of his golden path. He remembers a day, just one year back, when he was given a grand welcome by the public as a hero and thus his path was filled with roses.
2. What significance does the line, “A year ago on this very day” hold in the context of the poem?
A2. This line holds great significance in the context of the poem because there is a great poignant contrast between the day a year back and this day just a year after. A year back he was welcomed as a hero, public cheered and roses and myrtle paved his path and today he is going to the executed, no one is there. Today, he is considered a traitor while a year back, he was a great patriot and hero.

3. Which figure of speech is prominent “with myrtle mixed in my path like mad”,
A3. The figure of speech alliteration is prominent in this line.
4. Who are ‘they’ in the following line? What light does the line throw on them?
“They had answered”, “And afterward, what else”.
A4. The word ‘they’ refers to the public here. This line shows how they were impressed by his heroism and how much honor and love, they awarded him that they would have agreed to give him the sun, if he had asked for it and would have asked him ‘what else after the sun’. They were ready to give him more.
5. What kind of reception had the speaker received then? how can you say so?
A5. He had been received by the public with roses and myrtles. The people crowded on the road and roof to cheer and ‘the church spire flamed with flags’. Public’s regard, love and respect for him was so high that they would have agreed to him the sun if he had asked for it. Thus, we can say that he had received great affection and regard from the people.

(2) Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
      Alack, it was I who leaped at the sun
      To give it my loving friends to keep!
      Nought man could do, have I left undone,
      And you see my harvest, what I reap
      This very day, now a year is run.
1. Who is ‘I’ in the above extract? What does leaping at the sun signify?
A1. ‘I’ in the above extract is the speaker. ‘Leaping at the sun’ signifies the fact that the speaker became over ambitious and tried to do everything for his friends, and that was his downfall.
2. Why did the speaker leap at the sun? What word tells you that speaker is being regretful?
A2. The speaker leapt at the sun for his friends. It tells us that he did everything possible for the good of his friends. The word ‘harvest’ tells us that the speaker regrets his over enthusiasm for his people because he was awarded for doing all those deeds by being called a traitor.
3. Explain what ‘harvest’ the speaker is referring to.
A3. ‘Harvest’ here means reward. The speaker did everything possible for the people whom he considered his friends and those very people are happy that he is declared a traitor and is going to be executed. None has come forward to help him.
4. The speaker uses the phrase ‘loving friends’. Do you really consider them loving? Why?
A4. The speaker calls them ‘loving friends’ but it was not so. The love was momentary and fickle. They were not loving. Had they really loved him, they would have tried to help him or at least sympathized with him. On the other hand, they were so fickle minded that they considered his punishment right.
5. State whether the speaker feels sad about the past. Give reasons to support your answers.
A5. The speaker certainly feels sad about the past. Just a year back, the same people gave him a welcome of roses and those very people within a year have condemned him as a traitor. Even killers or maniacs need pity or sympathy. Here in the poem, his crime is not clarified, there is ambiguity of offence Naturally he feels sad. That is why he says, ‘And you see my harvest’.

(3) Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
      There’s nobody on the house top new –
      Just a palsied, few at the windows set,
      For the best of the sight is, all allow,
      At the shambles’ Gale – or, better yet,
      By the very scaffold’s foot, I trow.

1. Compare the scene on the house-tops a year ago and now as mentioned in the extract above.
A1. A year ago, speaker was welcomed by the public with roses, and roof-top were filled with people shouting welcome to him and now just a year after, the speaker unfortunately, is going to be executed and no one is there on the roof top except a few sick people. He is all alone.

2. What has changed the situation?
A2. It is not clarified in the poem by the speaker. According to him, he was welcomed by the people and he went on working for the good of his friends but somehow the situation changed and he was declared a traitor. No one stood with him or felt pity for him. He is going to be executed.

3. What difference is seen in people’s attitude towards the patriot earlier and now?
A3. A great difference is seen in people’s attitude towards the patriot. Earlier people loved him honored him, welcomed him., church was decorated with flags in his welcome, people were ready to offer him moon if he so desired. But now people hate him, consider him a traitor, no one is there to shout from roof tops, People think that he should be executed and are ready crowd the place of his execution. Such great difference is in the attitude of people although no specific reason is given.

4. What is referred to as ‘the best of the sight’?
A4. The best of the sight is the execution of the patriot by the scaffold. It is the irony of fate that those who cheered at his heroic deeds and welcomed him with roses and myrtle are now cheering at his execution. It also shows the fickleness of people’s minds which can change so soon.

5. Where is the speaker being taken? Why? State whether this action is justified.
A5. The speaker is being taken to be executed for his misdeeds but it is not clear what crime he has committed. Whether the punishment is right or wrong cannot be judged, but it is sure that he receives readers’ sympathy.

(4) Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
      I go in the rain and more than needs,
      A rope cuts both my wrists behind,
      And I think, by the feel, my forehead bleeds,
      For they fling, whoever has mind,
      Stones at me for my year’s misdeeds.

1. Where is ‘I’ going in the rain? What does the rain symbolize in the context?
A1. ‘I’ is going in the rain towards the scaffold.
Rain here symbolizes three things. The rain makes the patriot wet and it also reduces his dignity. The rain can also be seen to symbolize how the patriot is innocent as he is washed clean. Rain in general represents corruption creating a negative tense mood. This describes the public who are clearly corrupt for hanging someone who is innocent.

2. Give the meaning and significance of; ‘A rope cuts both my wrists behind’
A2. Passing through the same places, where the patriot was cheered, welcomed with roses. and now his wrist is bound so tightly that he ropes cuts them, we can imagine what he must be feeling. The lines signify the height of indignity, dishonor and tragic irony.

3. Whose forehead bleeds? Why and how?
A3. The patriot’s forehead bleeds because people are throwing stones at him, and now he is considered a traitor by them.

4. How does the extract reflect upon the theme of fecklessness of the public?
A4. Not only this extract, the whole poem is a harsh and critical satire on public’s fickle attitude. The poem describes how love, honor and welcome given to someone by the public is short lived. In the poem, the speaker is in a critical position. Only a year ago, he was welcomed like a God, given a hero’s welcome on his arrival in the town but today he is being taken to the scaffold to be executed and the same public is throwing stones at him. The fickleness of the public is clearly seen when the same public, who would promise him anything a year ago, is now talking him towards his end.

5. The speaker uses the phrase ‘my year’s misdeeds’. How does this phrase add to the ambiguity in the poem?
A5. The phrase ‘my year’s misdeeds’ means some wrong actions on the part of the speaker but it is not clarified what those ‘misdeeds’ were. Therefore, it adds to the ambiguity in the poem. Nothing is clear.

(5) Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:
      Thus, I entered and thus I got
      In triumphs, people have dropped down dead
      “Paid by the world, what dost thou owe
      ‘Me’, God might question, now instead,
      Tie God shall repay”, I am safer now.

1. Where do you think the speaker enters? Where does he go afterwards?
A1. The speaker has entered gates of death and now is ready to “go” to his life after death.

2. The speaker says, “I am safer now”, where does he feels safe? Why?
A2. The speaker says he is ‘safer now’ because he has faith in God. He believes that he has not been rewarded in this world, but he will be taken care of by God. God will reward him.

3. Explain – “In triumphs, people have dropped down dead”. Which figure of speech is used here?
A3. The speaker means to say that people have been seen become imperfect in victory.
The figure of speech used in this line is alliteration.

4. How does the above extract reflect Browning’s optimistic philosophy of life?
A4. In the poem, the speaker after all his efforts for the well-being of his people whom he considered his friends, is going to be executed by the same people. He got no reward. For a moment he is very depressed, painfully unhappy, but then he begins to believe that God will do what the public did not. He will reward him. Even in the grip of death, he is optimistic about his life after death. This reflects the poet’s optimistic philosophy of life.

5. How does the poem depict the sudden rise and fall of glory of man?
A5. The poem describes the sudden rise and fall of the glory of man. Here, within a year, the patriot experiences both love and hatred.
One year ago, he was welcomed by public with roses and myrtles and the same public throws stones at him. This shows his downfall from a beloved hero to a condemned traitor. Here is the mythical reference to Icarus also. The hero thinks that perhaps he became over-ambitious and his vaulting ambition became his downfall.

6. What is the moral of the story?
A6. Browning’s message in the poem is to have faith in God and be optimistic. He uses the story of Icarus to describe the ambition of man in stanza three. This gives the moral of the story, that is, one should never be over-ambitious like Icarus because then the outcome will also be the same.

The Patriot Summary Treasure Trove