Poem 4: The Last Bargain
Summary of Poem
One morning, speaker walking on the stone paved road and asking out to hire him.
Firstly, a king came near him and told that he would hire him with his power but his power counted for nothing so he disliked his agreement.
During mid-day, an old man came with gold coins and said that he would hire with money but the speaker rejects all his money because money will soon be spent and money cannot buy us everlasting happiness.
In the evening, the garden fences were full of flowers. A fair lady came out from garden and said that he would hire him with a smile but her smile faded away and she melted into tears and returns into the dark leaving the speaker alone.
At last a child playing with shells and said that he would hire him with nothing an poet accepted his agreement but speaker was attracted by the flawless character of the child so he accepted the agreement of child. The bargain of the child makes the speaker a free man.
Working with Poem
1. Who is the speaker in the poem?
The speaker in the poem is a man who is looking for work.
2. “The king, sword in hand” suggests
(iii) more power than wealth
Mark the appropriate item in the context of stanza 1.
Ans. (ii) power
3. The old man offered the speaker a lot of money.
Why did he turn down the offer?
The old man offered the speaker a lot of money. However, he turned it down becausehe realised that money cannot give him what he actually desires. He had not till then realised that what he actually desired was happiness. When the old man was counting the gold coins, the speaker realised that once the money was finished or the work the old man wanted to hire him for was done, he would again be out of work. More than that, he would be bound in this bargain. It did not satisfy him and therefore, he turned it down.
4. Find in the poem, lines that match the following. Read both one after another.
(i) I have nothing to give you
Except goodwill and cheer.
(ii) Her happiness was no more
Than sorrow in disguise.
(iii) The king’s might was not worth much.
(i) ‘I hire you with nothing.’
(ii) ‘Her smile paled and melted into tears’.
(iii) ‘But his power counted for naught’.
5. How did the speaker feel after talking to the child on the beach?
After talking to the child on the beach the speaker felt extremely happy.
Extra Questions and Answers
1. Why speaker deny the king proposal?
Ans. The speaker stated the king’s power as nothing so he denied the proposal of king.
2. What did the old man want? Was he successful in his bargain?
Ans. The old man wanted to hire the speaker with his money. No, he was not successful in his bargain.
3. Explain, “I hire you with nothing”?
Ans. The child has no material thing so he used the word nothing here. He has only goodwill and cheer to hire the speaker.