The Last Bargain, Class 8 English Honeydew Book Poem 4 Explanation, Summary, Difficult words
The Last Bargain Class 8 English Honeydew Book Poem 4 – Detailed explanation of the poem along with meanings of difficult words and literary devices used in the poem. Given here is the complete explanation of the Poems, along with summary. All the exercises and Question and Answers given at the back of the lesson
Class 8 English (Honeydew Book) Poem 4 – The Last Bargain
By Rabindranath Tagore
The Last Bargain- Introduction
A bargain is an agreement in which both parties promise to do something for each other. In the poem “The Last Bargain” by Rabindranath Tagore, the speaker looks for a suitable bargain in exchange for a job. He turns away the offers from the King, an old man and a young maiden who offered to hire him with their power, wealth and fake happiness. In the end, he found himself a suitable bargain when a child who offered to hire him for nothing as it made him a free man.
The Last Bargain- Summary
The poem “The Last Bargain” is about a man who is in search of a job. He was made the first offer by a King who wanted to hire him with his power. The power meant nothing to the man and thus, he rejected the offer. In the mid-day when all the doors of the houses are shut, he is offered a job by an old man with his wealth. The gold coins did not convince him enough and he turned away the second offer too. Furthermore in the evening, he gets an offer from a young woman who wanted to hire him with her smile. Her happiness was just sorrow in disguise and she ran away into the dark. Lastly, the man goes to the seashore where he finds a child who looks at him with a sense of familiarity and offers to hire him for nothing. The speaker accepted the offer happily as it made him a free man.
The Last Bargain- Poem and Explanation
“Come and hire me,” I cried, while in the morning
I was walking on the stone-paved road.
Sword in hand the King came in his chariot.
He held my hand and said, “I will hire you with my power,”
But his power counted for naught, and he went away in his chariot.
Stone-paved- a road, path covered with a suitable surface suitable for travel
Chariot- a carriage drawn by horses
A man in search of work made an announcement to let people know he is available for work. As he was walking on the stone-paved road, the King came in his chariot with a sword in his hand. The King stopped and offered the man a job with his power as he held the man’s hand. But the power meant nothing to the man and thus, he refused the King’s offer. And the King went away in his carriage.
In the heat of the mid-day the houses stood with shut doors.
I wandered along the crooked lane.
An old man came out with his bag of gold.
He pondered and said, “I will hire you with my money.”
He weighed his coins one by one, but I turned away.
Crooked- not straight
Pondered- think about something carefully, especially before making a decision or reaching a conclusion
It was now midday and everyone was in their houses with the doors shut due to the heat. As the man roamed around during that time along the not-so-straight pathway, he received an offer from an old man. The old man offered to hire him with money as he counted his gold coins one by one. The man turned the old man’s offer away as he was not satisfied with it.
It was evening. The garden hedge was all aflower.
The fair maid came out and said, “I will hire you with a smile.”
Her smile paled and melted into tears, and she went back alone into the dark.
Hedge- a fence or boundary formed by closely growing bushes or shrubs
A flower- flowering; in bloom
Fair maid- a young unmarried woman
Paled- (here) fade; diminish; lessen
It was now evening when the man was near a garden fence covered with flowers. It was only then that a young woman offered to hire him with her smile but her smile faded away and tears started coming from her eyes. Thus, she went into the dark all alone. Her happiness was just sorrow in disguise.
The sun glistened on the sand, and the sea waves broke waywardly.
A child sat playing with shells.
He raised his head and seemed to know me and said, “I hire you with nothing.”
From henceforward that bargain struck in child’s play made me a free man.
Glistened- shine with a sparkling light
Waywardly- difficult to control or predict
The sunrays fell on the sand as waves began to arise. He saw a child playing with shells at the seashore. The child looked at the man with a sense of recognition and familiarity as he offered to hire him with nothing. The man accepted the bargain and indulged himself in child’s play because it made him a free man as he worked in exchange for nothing.
The Last Bargain- Literary Devices
1. Alliteration- the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words
“The sun glistened on the sand, and the sea waves broke waywardly”, “made me a free man”
2. Symbolism- the use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities
Eg- King with sword symbolises power, old man with a bag of gold symbolises wealth
The Last Bargain- Question and Answers
Working with the Poem
1. Who is the speaker in the poem?
A. The speaker in the poem is a man looking for a job.
2. “The king, sword in hand” suggests
(iii) more power than wealth.
Mark the appropriate item in the context of stanza 1.
A. (ii) power
3. The old man offered the speaker a lot of money. Why did he turn down the offer?
A. The man in search of the job was not really convinced by the old man’s offer. Although he himself was not aware what he was looking for in a job but the old man’s offer surely did not convince him enough. He considered wealth, power and happiness as temporary things. Moreover, in the end he realised that he desired freedom over being enslaved to power or wealth.
4. Find in the poem, lines that match the following. Read both one after another.
(i) I have nothing to give you except goodwill and cheer.
A. The line in the poem that matches the above statement is “I hire you with nothing.”
(ii) Her happiness was no more than sorrow in disguise.
A. The line in the poem that matches the above statement is “Her smile paled and melted into tears, and she went back alone into the dark.”
(iii) The king’s might was not worth much.
A. The line in the poem that matches the above statement is “But his power counted for naught”
5. How did the speaker feel after talking to the child on the beach?
A. After talking to the child on the beach, the man realised why he was not attracted by the previous job offers. The child hired him with nothing and the speaker felt as if he was a free man, not enslaved by the virtues of power, wealth and fake happiness.