I Remember, I Remember: ICSE Class 9 English poem answers

i remember i remember icse class 9
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Get notes, line-by-line explanation, summary, questions and answers, critical analysis, word meanings, extras, and pdf of the poem I Remember, I Remember by Thomas Hood which is part of ICSE Class 9 English (Treasure Chest). However, the notes should only be treated for references and changes should be made according to the needs of the students.

Line-by-line explanation of the poem

I remember, I remember, / The house where I was born,
The poet recalls with nostalgia the home of his earliest memories.

The little window where the sun / Came peeping in at morn;
He remembers a specific window in his childhood home where the morning sun would shine through.

He never came a wink too soon, / Nor brought too long a day,
The sun was always timely, neither rising too early nor setting too late.

But now, I often wish the night / Had borne my breath away!
In his current state, he sometimes wishes that the night had taken his life, indicating a sense of despair in adulthood.

I remember, I remember, / The roses, red and white,
He reminisces about the vibrant roses from his childhood.

The violets, and the lily-cups, / Those flowers made of light!
He recalls other flowers that seemed to glow with a special light.

The lilacs where the robin built, / And where my brother set
He remembers the lilac bushes where a bird built its nest and a memory involving his sibling.

The laburnum on his birth-day, / The tree is living yet!
A tree was planted on his brother’s birthday, and it still stands, symbolizing enduring memories.

I remember, I remember, / Where I was used to swing,
He recalls playing and swinging as a child.

And thought the air must rush as fresh / To swallows on the wing;
He felt the fresh air while swinging, comparing his joy to that of birds in flight.

My spirit flew in feathers then, / That is so heavy now,
His spirit was light and free during childhood but feels burdened in adulthood.

And summer pools could hardly cool / The fever on my brow!
He remembers the refreshing summer pools and the intense emotions of his youth.

I remember, I remember, / The fir trees dark and high;
He reminisces about the tall fir trees from his childhood.

I used to think their slender tops / Were close against the sky:
In his childhood, he believed the trees touched the sky.

It was a childish ignorance, / But now ’tis little joy
He realizes his naive childhood beliefs, and there’s less joy in knowing the reality now.

To know I’m farther off from heaven / Than when I was a boy!
He feels more distant from the bliss of childhood and closer to happiness as a child than he does now.

Word meanings

Morn: Short for morning; the early part of the day.

Wink: A very short period of time; in this context, it means the sun never appeared even a moment too early.

Borne: Carried or transported.

Laburnum: A type of small tree with hanging clusters of yellow flowers. It’s often considered beautiful but is toxic if ingested.

Swing: A seat suspended by ropes or chains, on which someone may sit and swing back and forth.

Swallows: A type of bird known for its agile flight.

Feathers: The soft, light covering of a bird.

Fir trees: A type of evergreen coniferous tree.

Slender: Gracefully thin.

Ignorance: Lack of knowledge or awareness.

Heaven: A place regarded in various religions as the abode of God and the angels, and of the good after death, often traditionally depicted as being above the sky.

Summary of the poem

Thomas Hood’s “I Remember, I Remember” is a heartfelt dive into the world of nostalgia. It’s like opening an old photo album and getting lost in the memories of yesteryears.

The poem starts with Hood taking us back to his childhood home. He paints a vivid picture of a window where the morning sun would sneak a peek. But there’s a twist. While he cherishes these memories, he also hints at moments in his current life when he wishes the night would just sweep him away. It’s a stark reminder that adulthood isn’t always sunshine and roses.

Speaking of roses, Hood then takes us on a stroll through the gardens of his past. We see roses, violets, and even a robin setting up home in the lilacs. There’s a touching moment where he recalls his brother planting a tree on his birthday—a tree that’s still standing, a silent witness to the sands of time.

The next bit is all about the joys of being young and carefree. Hood reminisces about swinging and feeling as free as a bird. But, as with all good things, there’s a catch. That light-hearted spirit he once had? It’s now weighed down by the challenges of grown-up life.

Finally, Hood talks about those towering fir trees from his childhood days. He used to think they brushed the heavens. Realizing they don’t is a bit of a downer for him. It’s like waking up from a dream and realizing that maybe, just maybe, childhood was the closest he ever got to heaven.

Critical analysis of the poem

“I Remember, I Remember” by Thomas Hood is a touching journey into the realm of childhood memories and the relentless march of time. The poem is drenched in nostalgia, drawing a stark contrast between the carefree days of youth and the burdens of adulthood.

The poem’s structure, with its four stanzas of eight lines each, mirrors the cyclical nature of memories, especially with the recurring phrase “I remember, I remember.” This rhyme scheme gives the poem a rhythmic heartbeat, making the memories pulse with life.

The phrase “I remember, I remember” isn’t just a repetition; it’s an echo, a heartbeat of the past that keeps resounding in the speaker’s mind. Hood’s imagery is so vivid that it feels like stepping into a painting. Take, for instance, the “little window where the sun / Came peeping in at morn.” It’s easy to visualize a calm morning scene. And the flowers – the “roses, red and white,” “violets,” “lily-cups,” and “lilacs” – they’re not just flowers; they’re symbols of a time when life was simpler and more innocent. But as the poem progresses, these light, airy images give way to the weightier reflections of adulthood.

Childhood in the poem feels like a dance, with the speaker’s “spirit [flying] in feathers.” But adulthood? It’s a stark contrast, with the spirit feeling “so heavy.” The realization that he’s now “farther off from heaven” than in his youth is a poignant acknowledgment of lost innocence and the looming shadow of mortality.

Nature isn’t just a backdrop in this poem; it’s a character. The sun, flowers, trees, and birds are all fragments of the speaker’s past. The laburnum tree, still standing tall, is a testament to memories that refuse to fade, even as the sands of time slip away.

The poem’s mood is like a gentle sigh – a mix of fond remembrance and a touch of heartache. There’s a palpable sense of longing, especially when the speaker admits, “But now, I often wish the night / Had borne my breath away!” It’s a transition from the warmth of memory to the chill of reality.

At its heart, Hood’s poem is a reflection on time’s relentless march and the journey from the innocence of childhood to the complexities of adulthood. It’s a reminder that while time moves on, memories, with their vivid colors and emotions, stay with us, forever etched in our hearts.

Themes of the poem

Nostalgia and Memory: The recurring phrase “I remember, I remember” emphasizes the poet’s longing for the past. The detailed recollections of the house, the flowers, the trees, and the swing all point to a deep-seated nostalgia for the innocence and simplicity of childhood.

Innocence of Childhood: The poet recalls the time when he believed the tops of fir trees touched the sky, a belief stemming from the innocent perspective of a child. This innocence is also evident in his memories of swinging and believing that the air felt as fresh to him as it did to swallows in flight.

Passage of Time and Loss: As the poet reflects on his past, there’s a sense of loss. The line “But now, I often wish the night/Had borne my breath away!” suggests a contrast between the joy of childhood and the burdens or sorrows of adulthood. The poet feels the weight of time and the changes it brings.

Nature as a Reflection of Emotion: Nature is not just a backdrop in this poem; it mirrors the poet’s emotions. The sun that peeps in, the roses, violets, lily-cups, and fir trees all serve as symbols of the purity, joy, and simplicity of childhood. The fever on the poet’s brow that couldn’t be cooled by summer pools suggests the intensity of emotions and experiences in adulthood.

Distance from Innocence and Heaven: The poem concludes with the realization that with age and knowledge, the poet feels farther from heaven than he did as a child. This can be interpreted both literally and metaphorically. Literally, as a child, he believed he was closer to the sky (and thus heaven) when he saw the tall fir trees. Metaphorically, the innocence and purity of childhood are often associated with being closer to a divine or heavenly state, and as one grows older and more jaded, they may feel more distant from that purity.

Contrast between Childhood and Adulthood: Throughout the poem, there’s a stark contrast between the light, joyous memories of childhood and the heavier emotions of adulthood. The poet’s spirit once “flew in feathers,” but now feels heavy, indicating the burdens and responsibilities that come with age.

About the author

Thomas Hood, born in London on 23 May 1799, was a renowned English poet and humorist. He is celebrated for his works like “The Bridge of Sighs” and “The Song of the Shirt”. A regular contributor to The London Magazine, Athenaeum, and Punch, Hood even launched a magazine predominantly featuring his own writings. Despite his immense talent, Hood’s health was fragile, and by 41, he had become an invalid. He passed away at the age of 45. In 1903, William Michael Rossetti described him as “the finest English poet” between Shelley and Tennyson’s eras.

Following the death of Hood’s father in 1811, his family relocated to Islington. There, under the guidance of a dedicated private tutor, Hood’s passion for learning was ignited. This tutor’s enthusiasm for teaching made learning irresistible for the young poet. Hood even earned some money by editing a new edition of the 1788 novel, Paul and Virginia.

At the age of 14, Hood began working in a counting house, belonging to a family friend. There, he humorously described turning his stool into a “Pegasus on three legs”, with each foot representing a poetic meter. However, this profession wasn’t conducive to his health, prompting him to explore engraving. This too proved strenuous for his health.

Seeking a change, Hood moved to Dundee, Scotland, to stay with his father’s kin. Embracing an outdoor lifestyle, he also began to take his poetry seriously. His first appearance in print was a letter to the editor of the Dundee Advertiser.

In 1844, Hood penned “I Remember, I Remember”. This poem juxtaposes the uncertainties of adulthood with the idyllic memories of childhood, resonating universally. Through it, Hood poignantly expresses the fleeting nature of time, leaving behind only memories.

Workbook answers/solutions

Text-based Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

Read the following questions and select the correct option:

1. What is the rhyme scheme used in each stanza of the poem?

(a) abbcdefe (b) abcbdefe (c) abcbbdef (c) abcbdfee

Answer: b) abcbdefe

2. ‘He never came a wink too soon’ ? What does ‘he’ refer to here?

(a) the moon (c) the sun (b) the poet’s father (d) the poet’s brother

Answer: c) the sun

3. Which of these statements is NOT true?

(a) The poet feels miserable as a grown-up man. (b) The poet laments the loss of childhood innocence. (c) The poet wishes that he had died in his childhood. (d) The poet wishes to die now.

Answer: d) The poet wishes to die now.

4. What kind of tree was planted by the poet’s brother?

(a) fir tree (b) laburnum (c) rose (d) oak

Answer: b) laburnum

5. And thought the air must rush as fresh To swallows on the wing.’ Which figure of speech is used in these lines?

(a) simile (b) metaphor (c) irony (d) oxymoron

Answer: a) simile

6. Select the option that correctly displays the traits of the poet’s state of mind as an adult now.

1. Gloomy 2. Happy 3. Bored 4. Excited 5. Thrilled 6. Exhausted
(a) 2, 4 and 5 (b) 2, 4 and 6 (c) 1, 3 and 6 (d) 3, 4 and 5

Answer: c) 1, 3 and 6

7. What is the main idea conveyed by the poem?

(a) that adulthood is a period of gloom and restlessness. (b) that childhood is the best period in man’s life. (c) that one must recall one’s childhood. (d) that childhood memories play an important role in man’s life.

Answer: b) that childhood is the best period in man’s life.

8. That is so heavy now’. What does ‘heavy’ refer to here?

(a) the poet’s spirit now (b) the swing (c) the poet’s spirit in childhood (d) old days of childhood

Answer: a) the poet’s spirit now

9. In the last stanza the poet refers to ‘childish ignorance’. How does he view it as an adult?

(a) sarcastically (b) positively (c) negatively (d) ironically

Answer: d) ironically

10. Which one of these in the poem is associated with childhood freedom?

(a) the sun (b) the flowers (c) swing (d) the fir trees

Answer: c) swing

Comprehension Passages

2. Comprehension Passages

Passage -1

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

I remember, I remember,
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day,
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away!

(i) In what mood does the poet recall his childhood? Why?

Answer: The poet recalls his childhood days in a deeply reflective and sentimental mood, pondering over the lost innocence and natural bliss of those happy times. As childhood is usually considered the best period of one’s life unspoiled by the complexities of the world, the poet reminisces about his childhood with a heavy heart.

(ii) How is the sun treated here? Which memory of the poet’s childhood is associated with it?

Answer: The sun is personified in a unique way, as if it were a caring person who would gently wake up the poet every morning by peeping through his window. The poet has fond memories of the sun arriving neither too early nor too late to start his day, associated with the natural rhythm of his childhood.

(iii) What does the poet wish?

Answer: The poet wishes he had died in his blissful childhood.

(iv) What contrast of childhood and adulthood is made by the poet?

Answer: The poet draws a stark contrast between the cheerfulness and innocent wonder of his childhood days versus the melancholy and disillusionment of his adulthood. Childhood brought unchecked joy and harmony with nature, while adulthood has weighed down his spirit with misery, exhaustion, and a yearning for the irrecoverable past.

(v) How does the poet view swinging in his childhood?

Answer: Swinging gave the poet a sense of freedom and thrill in childhood. He felt like a bird flying freely in the air while swinging.

Passage -2

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

I remember, I remember,
The roses, red and white,
The violets, and the lily-cups,
The laburnum on his birth-day,
The tree is living yet!

(i) What has the poet wished earlier in the context?

Answer: The poet has wished earlier that he had died in his childhood.

(ii) ‘Those flowers made of light!’ Explain.

Answer: The poet is referring to the bright and colourful flowers like roses, violets and lilies which delighted him in childhood. Their bright colours seemed to radiate light.

(iii) What is ‘laburnum’? What makes the poet excited about it?

Answer: Laburnum is a tree with hanging yellow flower bunches. The poet is excited because it was planted by his brother on his birthday and is still alive, which reminds the poet of his childhood days.

(iv) Childhood is a period of freedom. Which childhood image in the poem reminds you of this?

Answer: The image of the poet swinging freely like a bird reminds me of the freedom of childhood.

(v) Why does the poet refer to the fir tree tops later in the context?

Answer: The poet refers to the fir tree tops to point out how his perspective has changed from childhood to adulthood. As a child, he thought the tree tops touched the sky but as an adult he realizes it was his childish ignorance.

Passage -3

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

I remember, I remember,
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then,
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow!

(i) What did the poet’s brother plant, and when? What is so exciting about it?

Answer: The poet’s brother planted a laburnum tree on his birthday. The poet is excited because the tree is still alive, reminding him of his childhood days.

(ii) How would the poet feel as a child on a swing?

Answer: As a child on the swing, the poet felt light, free and thrilled like a bird flying in the fresh air.

(iii) Elaborate the contrast between ‘then’ (childhood) and ‘now’ (adulthood).

Answer: ‘Then’ symbolizes the poet’s childhood days when his spirit felt free, light and airborne, like a bird gliding effortlessly through the fresh breezy air. The poet uses the metaphor of his spirit flying with feathers to convey the untethered joy and energy of his childhood. ‘Now’ in contrast denotes his current state in adulthood where his spirit feels oppressively heavy, weighed down by the burdens of grown-up sorrows, responsibilities and disconnectedness from the natural world.

(iv) Explain the last line here.

Answer: The metaphorical “fever on my brow” is symbolic of the poet’s restless dissatisfaction and sense of exhaustion as an adult which is in stark contrast to the cooling, calming effect of his childhood days. The “fever” represents the heat of emotions like frustration, stress and misery which the poet experiences now, unlike the relief provided by the pools of water in the carefree summers of his childhood.

(v) Does the poet want to escape from the present harsh realities? Why?

Answer: Yes, the poet wants to escape the gloom and misery of adulthood by reminiscing about his happy childhood. He wishes he had died in childhood to avoid the harsh realities of adulthood.


Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

I remember, I remember,
The fir trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now ’tis little joy
To know I’m farther off from heaven
Than when I was a boy.

(i) In what state of mind does the poet recall his childhood? What do you think has made him nostalgic?

Answer: The poet reminisces about his childhood in a gloomy, wistful state of mind, filled with sadness and longing for the now distant past. The loss of the joyful innocence and unburdened bliss of childhood upon becoming an adult has rendered the poet nostalgic about those perfect, idyllic early years.

(ii) What was the childhood viewpoint about the ‘fir trees’?

Answer: As a child, the poet thought the slender tops of the tall fir trees touched the sky.

(iii) How does the poet view his adulthood ‘wisdom’ as compared to his childhood ‘ignorance’?

Answer: The poet sees his childhood ignorance as blissful innocence which gave him joy. His adulthood wisdom has only distanced him from that heavenly joy.

(iv) Explain the last two lines of the extract.

Answer: The last two lines mean that the poet feels he has drifted farther away from the state of heavenly joy and innocence which he possessed as a child.

(v) What rhyme scheme is employed by the poet here?

Answer: The rhyme scheme is abcbdefe in this stanza and throughout the poem.

Additional questions and answers

1. What is the rhyme scheme of each stanza in the poem?

Answer: The rhyme scheme of each stanza is ABCBDEFE.

2. What figure of speech is used in the line “Came peeping in at morn”?

Answer: The poet uses the literary device of personification, attributing the human action of peeping to the sun, as if the sun were sneakily peeking through the window to check on the poet in the morning. This adds an endearing, almost mischievous character to the sun.

3. What does the poet wish had happened to him in childhood?

Answer: Conveying the depth of his disillusionment and unhappiness with adulthood, the poet expresses that he wishes the figurative night had “borne his breath away” when he was a carefree child, meaning he wishes he had died during the tranquil innocence of childhood and avoided the melancholy burdens of adulthood altogether.

4. Name two types of flowers mentioned in the second stanza.

Answer: Roses and violets.

5. Who planted the laburnum tree and when?

Answer: The poet’s brother planted it on his birthday.

6. What makes the poet nostalgic about the laburnum tree?

Answer: It reminds him of his childhood days.

7. How does the poet describe his childhood experience on the swing?

Answer: The poet uses vivid imagery to capture the wonderful freedom and exhilaration he felt as a child effortlessly soaring back and forth on the swing. He describes the sensation of gliding through the fresh, brisk air as transcending, with his spirit feeling as light, untethered, and joyful as a bird in flight.

8. What metaphor does the poet use to contrast his spirit in childhood and now?

Answer: His spirit used to be light and airy like feathers, now it is heavy.

9. What brings “fever” to the poet in adulthood?

Answer: The metaphorical fever is symbolic of the constant worries, stresses, and disappointments of grown-up responsibilities weighing down the poet’s spirit. In contrast to the carefree coolness provided by summer pools in childhood, the fever represents the burning exhaustion and discontentment of spirit brought on by the troubles of adulthood.

10. What was the poet’s childhood perspective about the treetops and sky?

Answer: He thought the treetops touched the sky.

11. How does the poet describe his childhood perspective now?

Answer: As childish ignorance.

12. What does the poet’s adulthood wisdom fail to provide?

Answer: Despite gaining more knowledge and experience with age, the poet expresses that his adult wisdom does not provide the childlike happiness, innocence, and closeness to heaven that he possessed in his naive childhood ignorance. His learnedness as a grown-up thus seems hollow in comparison.

13. What is the main theme expressed in the poem?

Answer: Childhood innocence and joy surpass the disillusionments of adulthood.

14. Does the poet portray childhood or adulthood more positively?

Answer: Childhood is portrayed more positively.

Additional/Extra MCQs

1. What is the rhyme scheme of the poem?



2. What had the poet’s brother planted?

A. A rose bush B. A laburnum tree C. A bed of violets D. An oak tree

Answer: B. A laburnum tree

3. How does the poet’s spirit feel in adulthood?

A. Light as a feather B. Free as a bird C. Heavy as lead D. Smooth as silk

Answer: C. Heavy as lead

4. What cools the poet’s ‘fever’ in childhood?

A. The violets B. The oak tree C. The summer pools D. The roses

Answer: C. The summer pools

5. What type of trees did the poet think reached the sky?

A. Palm trees B. Pine trees C. Fir trees D. Apple trees

Answer: C. Fir trees

6. The poet views his childhood perspective now as:

A. Wise and learned B. Foolish and ignorant C. Practical and realistic D. Hopeful and imaginative

Answer: B. Foolish and ignorant

7. What feeling pervades the poem?

A. Optimism B. Pessimism C. Nostalgia D. Bitterness

Answer: C. Nostalgia

8. Which literary device is used in the first line of each stanza?

A. Alliteration B. Rhyme C. Repetition D. Anaphora

Answer: D. Anaphora

9. What has the poet lost from childhood to adulthood?

A. Vitality B. Creativity C. Innocence D. Patience

Answer: C. Innocence

10. What is the overall tone of the poem?

A. Somber B. Celebratory C. Humorous D. Hopeful

Answer: A. Somber

11. Which movement does the poem’s style reflect?

A. Modernism B. Realism C. Romanticism D. Naturalism

Answer: C. Romanticism

12. What does the poet wish for?

A. To relive his childhood B. To forget memories C. To avoid responsibilities D. To embrace adulthood

Answer: A. To relive his childhood

13. Which best describes the poet’s tone?

A. Nostalgic B. Bitter C. Optimistic D. Humorous

Answer: A. Nostalgic

14. What imagery depicts the poet’s childhood freedom?

A. The fir trees B. The lilies C. The swing D. The roses

Answer: C. The swing

15. What does the fever represent?

A. Childhood illness B. Adulthood troubles C. Excitement on the swing D. Hard work in school

Answer: B. Adulthood troubles

16. When did the brother plant the laburnum tree?

A. In winter B. On his birthday C. In spring D. Every morning

Answer: B. On his birthday

17. Which is portrayed more positively?

A. Adulthood B. School days C. Childhood D. Senior years

Answer: C. Childhood

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