Before students read the poem, explain that harpies are birdlike female creatures from Greek mythology which Homer describes in the Odyssey as snatchers responsible for sudden disappearances. After they have read the poem, you might discuss the terms patriotism and loyalty. What do they mean? Does Holmes think we should be loyal to Old Ironsides? Why?
Find the words in the poem that help answer the questions below.
|1. ||Holmes does not use Constitutions name in the poem. Instead, what does he call her? the eagle of the sea |
|2. || What words describe Constitutions condition? tattered ... , shattered hulk, threadbare .... |
|3. ||(a) Does Holmes think Constitution should be saved? yes |
(b) Find examples in the poem to support your answer. many eyes have danced; the memory of heroes and victors; harpies are the evil against her
Use what you have learned about Constitution to provide some of the details behind the poem:
|4. || Name some of the heroes who served aboard her. examples: Isaac Hull, William Bainbridge, Edward Preble, Charles Stewart |
|5. ||Name two of the ships with which she did battle. possible answers: HMS Guerriere; HMS Java; HMS Cyane and HMS Levant |
|6. || Name one country representing Constitutions vanquished foe. England or Barbary states |
|7. || Rather than let her rot at the pier or use her for target practice, what would Holmes prefer to be her fate? Deliver her to the power of the stormy sea. |
|8. || What happened to her after she retired and where is she today? |
(use other side for your answer) Answers will vary