The KISS Grammar Willa Cather Page
(Code and Color Key)

From "The Bohemian Girl"
A Study in Style and Palimpsest Patterns

Analysis Key

     The moonlight flooded that great, silent land (DO). | The reaped field lay 

yellow (PA) [#1] {in it}. | The straw stacks and poplar windbreaks threw sharp black 

shadows (DO). | The roads were white rivers (PN) {of dust}. | The sky was a deep,

crystalline blue (PN) [#2], | and the stars were few (PA) and faint (PA). | 

Everything seemed to have succumbed, to have sunk [#3] {to sleep}, {under the 

great, golden, tender, midsummer moon}. | The splendor {of it} seemed to transcend 

human life (DO) and human fate (DO). | The senses were too feeble (PA) to take

it [#4] in, | and every time [NuA] [Adj. to "time" one looked up {at the sky}] one felt 

unequal (PA) {to it}, [ [#5] as if one were sitting deaf (PA) [#6] {under the waves}

{of a great river} {of melody}]. |

1. "Lay" is not generally considered a "linking" verb. Thus this can be seen as a palimpsest pattern in which "Lay" is written over "was" in "The reaped field was yellow in it."
2. Although "blue" is generally an adjective, the preceding "a" makes it function as a noun here.
3. Alternatively, "to have succumbed" can be explained as an infinitive that functions as an adverb to "seemed." (The same applies to "to transcend" in the next sentence.) Because no "and" joins "to have succumbed" and "to have sunk," the second infinitive phrase is probably best explained as an appositive to the first.
4. "It" is the direct object of the infinitive "to take." The infinitive phrase functions as an adverb to "too."
5. This "as if" clause is adverbial. Some people will see it as modifying "unequal," and others will see it as modifying "felt."
6. "Were" is in the subjunctive mood. "Deaf" is a variant of a palimpsest pattern, but in this case the "were" in "one were deaf" is written over by  "were sitting."