About the poem

A.  Read to understand

1. Complete the table by using the phrases given in the box to describe youth and old age, as the poet describes them.

filled with delight

like winter

lacks strength

like summer

filled with worries

takes risks

becomes careful

highly active



Old age










2. Find lines from the poem that would best fit the following descriptions.

     a)   The poet compares old age to the time when all earth looks bleak and barren.


     b)   The poet clearly expresses his love for youth.


     c)   The poet says that old people are physically unfit.


     d)   The poet says that young people are carefree.


3. Answer the following questions.

     a)   ‘Youth is full of sport, Age’s breath is short’

        Explain this line with the help of an example.


     b)   In the line ‘Age I do defy thee’, the poet is

                     i.        asking young people to break free from the bonds of old people.

                    ii.        challenging old age to deny what he has said about it.

                  iii.        expressing his wish to remain young forever.


     c)   In the second-last  line of the poem, the ‘shepherd’ probably refers to

        i. god.     ii. death    iii. a man grazing his sheep

B.  Discuss

1. The poet says ‘Age and Youth cannot live together’. Do you agree with this idea? Do you think the young generation can learn things from the older generation and vice versa? Discuss in class.


2. Have you heard of these famous personalities? All of them are achievers and are still active in their respective fields. Do you think these individuals would agree with the poet’s portrayal of old age as something to be abhorred? Discuss in class.




Mahasweta Devi (born: 1926)

social activist and Bengali writer; winner of the Jnanpith Award and the Padma Vibhushan

V.S Naipaul (born: 1932)

English writer; winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

Amartya Sen (born: 1933)

economist; winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences and the Bharat Ratna

Azim Premji (born: 1945)

chairman of Wipro Limited; winner of the Padma Vibhushan

Indra Nooyi (born: 1955)

chairman and CEO of PepsiCo; winner of the Padma Bhushan




C.  Read to appreciate

You know that youth and old age are abstract nouns or ideas. Yet, the poet refers to them as if they were living beings; for example, ‘Youth is nimble, Age is lame’.

Such representation of abstract ideas as a person or creature is called personification.

Personify the given words by using words that describe some action, feeling, or physical feature that you would normally associate with living beings. The first one is done as an example.

1. wind: The wind ran along the field, whispering into the ears of the flowers.

2. sky:

3. rain:

4. sun:

Last modified: Saturday, 24 November 2018, 8:47 PM