There’s nobody on the house-tops now

Collection of Poems (10)

Read the extract given below and answer the questions that follow:

There’s nobody on the house-tops now---
Just a palsied few at the windows set;
For the best of the sight is, all allow,
At the Shambles’ Gate---- or, better yet,
By the very scaffold’s foot, I trow.

- The Patriot, Robert Browning

(i) Who is the speaker?

The Patriot

Where is he being taken?

to the gallows/ Shambles’ Gate/ scaffold

Why?

to be hanged/ he has lost favour / support of the people.

(ii) Describe the scene when he had walked down the same street a year ago.

Roses / myrtle / flowers strewn in his path/ Large crowds gathered on rooftops to catch a glimpse of him / it seemed as if the roof were heaving and swaying/ The church spires were ablaze with colourful flags/ church bells were rung/ old walls rocked - signs of public adulation all round.

(iii) Where does the speaker think all the people had gathered that day?

at the Shambles’ Gate or at the foot of the gallows/ scaffold

Why does he think so?

They would be assured of the best view – ringside view/to watch him being hanged publicly/ the people were angry with him/ No one on the rooftops, only palsied few at the
windows.

(iv) Describe the speaker’s physical condition.

He’s drenched in the rain/ His hands are tied behind his back/ rope cuts into his wrist/ blood trickles down his forehead/ in pain caused by stones flung at him by people.

(v) What is the central message of the poem?

Public adulation is short lived / people are fickle-minded.

Praise and glory are fleeting - do not last.

Does the poem end on a note of hope or despair? Give one reason for your answer.

Hope

the patriot believes that God will reward him according to his true merit or any other plausible reason.

Or

Despair

He is bitter and disillusioned - believes he did so much for the people, yet they did not appreciate all that he had done.