Yes. I remember Adlestrop—

The name, because one afternoon

Of heat the express-train drew up there

Unwontedly. It was late June.

The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.

No one left and no one came

On the bare platform. What I saw

Was Adlestrop—only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,

And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,

No whit less still and lonely fair

Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang

Close by, and round him, mistier,

Farther and farther, all the birds

Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

  1. The poem has four stanzas, called quatrains (made up of four lines). Work out the rhyme scheme and then the line lengths by syllable count.
  2. What differences do you see between stanzas 1-2 and stanzas 3-4?
  3. We don’t usually stop to think much about a word like “and.” But count the uses of “and” in stanzas 1-2 and in stanzas 3-4. How would you explain that difference in frequency of “and” between the two halves of the poem?
  4. What is listed in stanzas 3-4? How does listing change our sense of the lines?
  5. Contrast the platform scene with the scene of the surrounding natural world.
  6. Why change from what can be seen (stanza 3) to what can be heard (stanza 4)? Note that hearing is involved in stanza 2: “hissed”; “cleared his throat.”
  7. The poem concerns names. How do we weigh the name “Adelstrop” against the names “Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire”? [“Gloucestershire” is pronounced as Glos-ter-sher.]
  8. What role is played by remembering?
  9. Why is the poem “Adelstrop” and not “All the Birds of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire”?

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