NCERT Textbook - Snake Class 10 Notes | EduRev

Literature Reader Class 10

Class 10 : NCERT Textbook - Snake Class 10 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


CBSE
124
12 12
UNIT UNIT
Poetry
P.6    Snake 
D. H. Lawrence
1. Snakes generate both horror and fascination. Do you agree? Why? Why not?
2. Read what W.W.E. Ross feels when he sees a snake and fill in the table given 
below:
The Snake Trying
The snake trying
to escape the pursuing stick,
with sudden curvings of thin
long body. How beautiful
and graceful are his shapes!
He glides through the water away
from the stroke. O let him go
over the water
into the reeds to hide
without hurt. Small and green
he is harmless even to children.
Along the sand
he lay until observed
and chased away, and now
he vanishes in the ripples
among the green slim reeds.
What is the snake doing? Words to describe the snake Poet's plea
Page 2


CBSE
124
12 12
UNIT UNIT
Poetry
P.6    Snake 
D. H. Lawrence
1. Snakes generate both horror and fascination. Do you agree? Why? Why not?
2. Read what W.W.E. Ross feels when he sees a snake and fill in the table given 
below:
The Snake Trying
The snake trying
to escape the pursuing stick,
with sudden curvings of thin
long body. How beautiful
and graceful are his shapes!
He glides through the water away
from the stroke. O let him go
over the water
into the reeds to hide
without hurt. Small and green
he is harmless even to children.
Along the sand
he lay until observed
and chased away, and now
he vanishes in the ripples
among the green slim reeds.
What is the snake doing? Words to describe the snake Poet's plea
CBSE
Poetry
125
3. Read the poem by D.H. Lawrence about his encounter with a snake. 
A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat, 
To drink there.
1
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree 
2
5 I came down the steps with my pitcher 
         And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before me.
3
He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
         And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of
         the stone trough
 And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
10 And where the water had dripped 
from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight 
gums, into his slack long body, 
Silently.
Someone was before me at my water-
trough,
And I, like a second comer, waiting.
15 He lifted his head from his drinking, as 
cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking 
cattle do,
4
And flickered his two-forked tongue 
5
from his lips, and mused a moment, 
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden 
6
from the burning bowels of the earth 
20 On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.
1 a red flowered tree originally in the Mediterranean area.
2 tall, round container with an open top and large handle
3 crack
4 moved
5 think about
6 bottom of earth
carob-tree - 
pitcher - 
fissure - 
flickered - 
mused - 
bowels - 
Page 3


CBSE
124
12 12
UNIT UNIT
Poetry
P.6    Snake 
D. H. Lawrence
1. Snakes generate both horror and fascination. Do you agree? Why? Why not?
2. Read what W.W.E. Ross feels when he sees a snake and fill in the table given 
below:
The Snake Trying
The snake trying
to escape the pursuing stick,
with sudden curvings of thin
long body. How beautiful
and graceful are his shapes!
He glides through the water away
from the stroke. O let him go
over the water
into the reeds to hide
without hurt. Small and green
he is harmless even to children.
Along the sand
he lay until observed
and chased away, and now
he vanishes in the ripples
among the green slim reeds.
What is the snake doing? Words to describe the snake Poet's plea
CBSE
Poetry
125
3. Read the poem by D.H. Lawrence about his encounter with a snake. 
A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat, 
To drink there.
1
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree 
2
5 I came down the steps with my pitcher 
         And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before me.
3
He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
         And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of
         the stone trough
 And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
10 And where the water had dripped 
from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight 
gums, into his slack long body, 
Silently.
Someone was before me at my water-
trough,
And I, like a second comer, waiting.
15 He lifted his head from his drinking, as 
cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking 
cattle do,
4
And flickered his two-forked tongue 
5
from his lips, and mused a moment, 
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden 
6
from the burning bowels of the earth 
20 On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.
1 a red flowered tree originally in the Mediterranean area.
2 tall, round container with an open top and large handle
3 crack
4 moved
5 think about
6 bottom of earth
carob-tree - 
pitcher - 
fissure - 
flickered - 
mused - 
bowels - 
CBSE
Poetry 
126
And voices in me said, If you were a man
25 You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.
But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth?
7
30 Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity , that I longed to talk to 
him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured.
And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid, you would kill him!
And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more
35 That he should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth.
He drank enough 
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken, 
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black, 
40 Seeming to lick his lips,
And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
45 And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.
And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther, 
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,
Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,
50 Overcame me now his back was turned.
I looked round, I put down my pitcher, 
I picked up a clumsy log
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.
7 The quality of being unreasonable, illogical perversity - 
Page 4


CBSE
124
12 12
UNIT UNIT
Poetry
P.6    Snake 
D. H. Lawrence
1. Snakes generate both horror and fascination. Do you agree? Why? Why not?
2. Read what W.W.E. Ross feels when he sees a snake and fill in the table given 
below:
The Snake Trying
The snake trying
to escape the pursuing stick,
with sudden curvings of thin
long body. How beautiful
and graceful are his shapes!
He glides through the water away
from the stroke. O let him go
over the water
into the reeds to hide
without hurt. Small and green
he is harmless even to children.
Along the sand
he lay until observed
and chased away, and now
he vanishes in the ripples
among the green slim reeds.
What is the snake doing? Words to describe the snake Poet's plea
CBSE
Poetry
125
3. Read the poem by D.H. Lawrence about his encounter with a snake. 
A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat, 
To drink there.
1
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree 
2
5 I came down the steps with my pitcher 
         And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before me.
3
He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
         And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of
         the stone trough
 And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
10 And where the water had dripped 
from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight 
gums, into his slack long body, 
Silently.
Someone was before me at my water-
trough,
And I, like a second comer, waiting.
15 He lifted his head from his drinking, as 
cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking 
cattle do,
4
And flickered his two-forked tongue 
5
from his lips, and mused a moment, 
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden 
6
from the burning bowels of the earth 
20 On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.
1 a red flowered tree originally in the Mediterranean area.
2 tall, round container with an open top and large handle
3 crack
4 moved
5 think about
6 bottom of earth
carob-tree - 
pitcher - 
fissure - 
flickered - 
mused - 
bowels - 
CBSE
Poetry 
126
And voices in me said, If you were a man
25 You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.
But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth?
7
30 Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity , that I longed to talk to 
him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured.
And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid, you would kill him!
And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more
35 That he should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth.
He drank enough 
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken, 
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black, 
40 Seeming to lick his lips,
And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
45 And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.
And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther, 
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,
Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,
50 Overcame me now his back was turned.
I looked round, I put down my pitcher, 
I picked up a clumsy log
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.
7 The quality of being unreasonable, illogical perversity - 
CBSE
Poetry
127
I think it did not hit him,
8
55 But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste.
9
Writhed like lightning, and was gone 
Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front, 
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.
And immediately I regretted it.
10
60 I thought how paltry , how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.
11 
And I thought of the albatross
And I wished he would come back, my snake.
For he seemed to me again like a king,
65 Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.
And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
Of life.
12
And I have something to expiate
A pettiness.
About the author
D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930), English novelist, storywriter, critic, poet and 
painter, is one of the greatest figures in 20th-century English literature. The 
poem Snake was composed in 1923 and forms part of the Reptiles section of 
D.H. Lawrence's book Birds, Beasts, and Flowers. It details a powerful few 
moments when Lawrence is confronted by a snake at Lawrence's water 
trough, in Taormina, Sicily. The poem is unrhymed, written in free verse, and 
is representative of modernist literature.
4. Given below is the summary of the poem Snake in short paragraphs. However 
they  are jumbled. Work in pairs and put the summary into a logical sequence.
a) After drinking water to satisfaction, the snake raised his head dreamily and flickered his 
forked tongue and licked his lips. The snake looked around like a God and then slowly 
proceeded to curve round and move away from the water trough.
b) The poet felt much like the ancient mariner who had killed the albatross for no reason. 
He wishes that the snake would come back. He thinks of the snake as a king in exile 
8 violent movement
9 to twist and turn
10 worthless
convulsed - 
Writhed - 
paltry - 
11 an allusion to Coleridge's "Rime of 
the ancient mariner" .He wishes for its return.
12 make amends 
albatross - 
 expiate - 
Page 5


CBSE
124
12 12
UNIT UNIT
Poetry
P.6    Snake 
D. H. Lawrence
1. Snakes generate both horror and fascination. Do you agree? Why? Why not?
2. Read what W.W.E. Ross feels when he sees a snake and fill in the table given 
below:
The Snake Trying
The snake trying
to escape the pursuing stick,
with sudden curvings of thin
long body. How beautiful
and graceful are his shapes!
He glides through the water away
from the stroke. O let him go
over the water
into the reeds to hide
without hurt. Small and green
he is harmless even to children.
Along the sand
he lay until observed
and chased away, and now
he vanishes in the ripples
among the green slim reeds.
What is the snake doing? Words to describe the snake Poet's plea
CBSE
Poetry
125
3. Read the poem by D.H. Lawrence about his encounter with a snake. 
A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat, 
To drink there.
1
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree 
2
5 I came down the steps with my pitcher 
         And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough before me.
3
He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
         And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the edge of
         the stone trough
 And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
10 And where the water had dripped 
from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight 
gums, into his slack long body, 
Silently.
Someone was before me at my water-
trough,
And I, like a second comer, waiting.
15 He lifted his head from his drinking, as 
cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking 
cattle do,
4
And flickered his two-forked tongue 
5
from his lips, and mused a moment, 
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden 
6
from the burning bowels of the earth 
20 On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna smoking.
The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are venomous.
1 a red flowered tree originally in the Mediterranean area.
2 tall, round container with an open top and large handle
3 crack
4 moved
5 think about
6 bottom of earth
carob-tree - 
pitcher - 
fissure - 
flickered - 
mused - 
bowels - 
CBSE
Poetry 
126
And voices in me said, If you were a man
25 You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.
But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my water-trough
And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
Into the burning bowels of this earth?
7
30 Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him? Was it perversity , that I longed to talk to 
him? Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured.
And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid, you would kill him!
And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still more
35 That he should seek my hospitality
From out the dark door of the secret earth.
He drank enough 
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken, 
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black, 
40 Seeming to lick his lips,
And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
45 And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.
And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered farther, 
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that horrid black hole,
Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself after,
50 Overcame me now his back was turned.
I looked round, I put down my pitcher, 
I picked up a clumsy log
And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.
7 The quality of being unreasonable, illogical perversity - 
CBSE
Poetry
127
I think it did not hit him,
8
55 But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in undignified haste.
9
Writhed like lightning, and was gone 
Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front, 
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.
And immediately I regretted it.
10
60 I thought how paltry , how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.
11 
And I thought of the albatross
And I wished he would come back, my snake.
For he seemed to me again like a king,
65 Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.
And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
Of life.
12
And I have something to expiate
A pettiness.
About the author
D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930), English novelist, storywriter, critic, poet and 
painter, is one of the greatest figures in 20th-century English literature. The 
poem Snake was composed in 1923 and forms part of the Reptiles section of 
D.H. Lawrence's book Birds, Beasts, and Flowers. It details a powerful few 
moments when Lawrence is confronted by a snake at Lawrence's water 
trough, in Taormina, Sicily. The poem is unrhymed, written in free verse, and 
is representative of modernist literature.
4. Given below is the summary of the poem Snake in short paragraphs. However 
they  are jumbled. Work in pairs and put the summary into a logical sequence.
a) After drinking water to satisfaction, the snake raised his head dreamily and flickered his 
forked tongue and licked his lips. The snake looked around like a God and then slowly 
proceeded to curve round and move away from the water trough.
b) The poet felt much like the ancient mariner who had killed the albatross for no reason. 
He wishes that the snake would come back. He thinks of the snake as a king in exile 
8 violent movement
9 to twist and turn
10 worthless
convulsed - 
Writhed - 
paltry - 
11 an allusion to Coleridge's "Rime of 
the ancient mariner" .He wishes for its return.
12 make amends 
albatross - 
 expiate - 
CBSE
Poetry 
128
who has to be crowned again. He also regrets having missed his opportunity of knowing 
and understanding one of the lords of life.
c) As the snake put his head into the hole to retreat into the earth, the poet was filled with a 
protest against the idea of the snake withdrawing into his hole. The poet put down his 
pitcher, picked up a log and hurled it at the snake. The snake twisted violently and with 
great alacrity vanished into the hole in the wall.
d) A snake visited the poet's water trough on a hot afternoon to quench his thirst. The poet 
who had also gone to the trough to fill water in a pitcher waited for the snake since he 
had come at the trough prior to the poet. 
e) The voices of education inside the poet tell him that it was the fear for the snake that 
made him refrain from killing him. However, the poet feels that though he was quite 
afraid of the snake, he did actually feel honoured that a snake had come to seek his 
hospitality from the deep recesses of the earth.
f) He is guilt-ridden and feels that he has to atone for the meanness of his action of 
throwing a log at the snake.
g) The snake rested his throat upon the stone bottom and sipped the water into his slack 
long body. After drinking water, he raised his head just like cattle do and flashed his 
forked tongue, thought for a moment and then bent down to drink some more water. 
h) Education and social conventions make the poet think that the golden brown poisonous 
snake must be killed and that as a brave man he must undertake the task of killing the 
snake.
i) The poet instantly felt sorry for his unrefined and contemptible act and cursed the 
voices of education and civilization that had shaped his thought processes and urged 
him to kill the snake.
j) However, the poet instinctively likes the snake, treats him like a guest and feels 
honoured that it had come to drink at his water trough. The poet questions himself and 
wonders whether his not daring to kill the snake proved that he was a coward and 
whether his desire to talk to the snake reflected his perversity.
5. Based on your reading of the poem, answer the following questions by ticking 
the correct options:
1. 'he lifted  his head from his drinking as cattle do' - The poet wants to convey that the 
snake
a) is domesticated
b) is innocent
c) is as harmless as cattle
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