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Notes for
from "The Water Babies" 
by Charles Kingsley [1819-1875]
Exercise AK Grade 5; IG5 L3.2.1 Ellipsis

      I'm not sure that this poem will be appreciated by fourth graders, but, as I understand it, "The Water Babies" was written for children. For students who have been learning to identify S/V/C pattern throughout fourth grade, this should be an interesting exercise. On the one side, there are many S/V/C patterns that they should be able to identify easily. But there is also that challenging bit of confusion -- several of the verbs are ellipsed, and, in one case, two subjects and their verbs are ellipsed. In addition to that, the poem has an interesting prepositional phrase in which the preposition follows its object ("The spent and maimed among"). You won't find that discussed in any grammar text that I am familiar with.
     If you do use this poem for the study of clauses, I'm curious about two things. Are the ellipsed verbs in the first stanza suggestive of the haste of youth? And is the triple embedding of subordinate clauses in the last stanza suggestive of the more complex view of the adult? You might also want to call to students’ attention the parallel “When” clauses that begin each stanza.

The illustration is by Jessie Willcox Smith (1863–1935) 
for  The Water-Babies, (1916) a children's book by the Rev. Charles Kingsley (1819-1875).
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