Level-2 : Comprehension (Poem) – 01

Poetry Multiple Choice: “Bright Star” by John Keats

Questions 1–10. Read the following poem carefully before you choose your answers.

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

Q1. “Bright star” is an example of
(A) metonymy
(B) simile
(C) apostrophe
(D) aubade
(E) synecdoche

Q2. In line 1, the word “steadfast” best refers to being
(A) strong
(B) constant
(C) immovable
(D) quick
(E) eternal

Q3. The poem’s form is best described as
(A) an ode
(B) a Shakespearean sonnet
(C) an Italian sonnet
(D) a ballad
(E) sestina

Q4. The poem juxtaposes the immortality of the star with
(A) the fleeting nature of love
(B) the moon’s effect on tide
(C) the imperfection of human perception
(D) the reality of human death
(E) the beauty of nature

Q5. The poem makes dramatic use of all of the following EXCEPT
(A) simile
(B) personification
(C) consonance
(D) allusion
(E) paradox

Q6. Which is an example of oxymoron?
(A) “ripening breast” (line 10)
(B) “human shores” (line 6)
(C) “lone splendour” (line 2)
(D) “sweet unrest” (line 12)
(E) “soft-fallen mask” (line 7)

Q7. The tone could be described as
(A) resigned
(B) melancholy
(C) haughty
(D) cynical
(E) scornful

Q8. Which images best illustrate a contrast between a static view of time and a fluid one?
I. “the new soft-fallen mask/Of snow” (lines 7–8) with “the moving waters” (line 5)
II. “watching with eternal lids apart” (line 3) and “its soft fall and swell” (line 11)
III. “to feel forever” (line 11) with “tendertaken breath” (line 13)
(A) I only
(B) II only
(C) III only
(D) I and II only
(E) II and III only

Q9. A dominant tension in the poem is conveyed through all of the following types of imagery EXCEPT
(A) visual
(B) tactile
(C) auditory
(D) olfactory
(E) kinesthetic

Q10. The use of dashes in lines 1, 8, 9, and 14 serves as a scheme of interruption that
(A) denounces the speaker’s current state
(B) objectifies the speaker’s desires
(C) defines the speaker’s problems
(D) clarifies the speaker’s ideas
(E) challenges the speaker’s destiny

Multiple-Choice Questions

1. (C) is correct. Apostrophe is a literary device in which the speaker addresses an inanimate object or an entity that cannot be expected to respond. In this case, Keats (we assume this poem is autobiographical) is directly addressing the bright star.

2. (B) is correct. He wishes he were as constant and unchanging as the star, an impossibility given that Keats was ill with tuberculosis at the time of the poem’s origin.

3. (C) is correct. While the rhyme scheme appears to be English, the format, an octave followed by a sestet, is Italian.

4. (D) is correct. Keats is on his death bed and reflecting on his death.

5. (C) is correct. Each of the other literary devices are employed in the poem. The poem begins with a simile, the star and the natural world are personified, an allusion is made to an Eremite, and the poem, as a whole, is paradoxical.

6. (D) is correct. The words sweet and unrest are in many ways opposites. One would expect something sweet to bring rest.

7. (B) is correct. This is, in fact, a common theme of Romantic poets.

8. (D) is correct. Roman numerals I and II both contrast static, unchanging images with ones of movement (the moving water and the rising chest of the speaker’s lover).

9. (D) is correct. The sense of smell is not engaged in the poem.

10. (D) is correct. The dashes, in many ways, help the poet provide opportunities to clarify his position so that his audience, in this case the bright star, can better understand his ideas.

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