But the demonstration took place in a house with several public rooms which points only to cumnor village (population around one thousand in the 1840s) and Cumnor is not mentioned in the poem at all. Today the there are two pubs there: The vine and The bear and Ragged Staff. The etymology of Cumnor is uncertain; perhaps it means 'cuma's hillside' after an eighth-century Abbot of Abingdon. The abbey owned the hills for centuries. If Cumnor village dominates the summit of the hills, it is in turn dominated by St Michael's, a solid church with a confident tower, on its own hillock. It's eleventh century, if not earlier, in origin but thirteenth-century in construction. Did Arnold ever go inside?
He was more experienced at excavating than building earthworks: his mound is too conical, its base too narrow for its height and is therefore, at thirty or forty feet high, a bit unstable. Concrete steps and an iron hand rail get you to the top. (The etymology is obscure as well: a corruption of the French le jardin is one suggestion.) John Masefield lived there and Robert Graves visited when he was up at Oxford after the Great War. For the elderly it's like stepping back in time, particularly walking down the lane, with guelder roses by the wayside, to wooton on the plain. Only didcot power station, built to generate electricity for the high energy physics lab, intrudes. More interesting, maybe, is what Arnold air-brushed out — two whole villages and their churches to begin with. The Scholar Gipsy tells his story, and shows his mind-controlling skill, to two chance-met former comrades in an inn on the hills. In the 1840s there would probably have been a number of ale houses up there; small places of the kind called jerries selling only beer or ale, often brewed at the back.
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Christ-Church hall ' through the snow at Christmas time i doubt. This is no dark victorian city but a place of light pollution like everywhere else. It's a november afternoon. The poet takes the path to Childsworth Farm — now Chilsworth — on the northern flank of boar's Hill looking for the signal Elm. If it still lives, so does the Scholar Gipsy and the quest goes. Today a tree, dramatically stark against the sky, is said to. Unfortunately it's dead, and in any case is an oak.
Of all the hills this one will have changed most. It's densely wooded and dotted all over with very expensive real estate: this is a millionaire's hill (Cumnor is for the merely extremely comfortably off). On the southern flank, preserved for all time, is Arnold's field, richly green and sloping down to a hollow with a view across the plain to the blue berkshire moors, the other haunt of the Scholar Gipsy. Sir Arthur evans, the archaeologist who easy uncovered Knossos, lived here in the 1920s. Nearby he built the jarn mound as a monument to the poet and the poem and to to give a better view.
A bell for calling the ferryman is still nailed to a willow. Today's ferry, like the old, is essentially a broad beamed punt. Back then, the ferryman hauled on an overhead rope made fast to either bank. Arnold has the Scholar Gipsy reclining in the boat, trailing his hand in the water. This is unlikely: the gunwale was only a few inches high and the crossing couldn't have taken more than three or four minutes (the river really is a stripling here as Arnold says).
Godstow bridge and a lasher — a dialect word for a weir and its pool — appear in the same stanza, though it's unclear how they're related geographically. To start with, the lasher by the bridge is downstream, not upstream as in the poem. On the right bank stand the ruins of Godstow Abbey. On the left is the Trout Inn, again unmentioned although it's prominent and in those days must still have served the rivermen working the upper reaches of the Thames. Here, the river is split by an island, one half pouring over the weir, the other flowing smoothly by on the other side. From down here, too, you can see how exactly right is Arnold's line about 'the warm, green-muffled Cumner Hills'. (The spelling has changed.) "Thyrsis which was written as a memorial to Clough, begins with the changes ten or twelve years had made to the hinkseys on the flank of the cumnors. Climbing the scarp today would astonish both writer and written-about: a major A-class highway follows the contour of the hill at the same level as East and West Hinksey. Whether you can still see 'the line of festal light.
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Away from the roads there's a great silence save for the rustle of leaves and birdsong in season. The hills are of the gently rolling, folded kind with mattress no timberline — corn can grow over the rounded summits. As you'd expect it's almost as rich in wild flowers as in Arnold's day: elder, campion, foxgloves, dog daisies, cow parsley, convolvulus, wild roses, primroses, blue bells, snapdragons, dead-nettle. By the river you still find purple loosestrife, meadowsweet, and bed straw. Arnold is at his most graphic in describing the river and the plain fringing the hills. Bablock hythe in particular won't have changed too much. In the summer of 2008 the ferry was beached, but not abandoned. The ferry boat Inn's name is the same, though not the building.
Farther west, beacon and Wytham Hills overlook that bend in the river. As an undergraduate in the 1840s Matthew Arnold walked there with his friend. Two of his poems — "Thyrsis" ( text, 1862/4) and "The Scholar Gipsy" ( text, 1852-53) — are set there. The story, apparently true, he found in Joseph Glanvil's "The vanity of Dogmatising" (1661). It tells of a student of Oxford who, too poor to pay his way, joins a band of gipsies to learn their lore, which gives them power to control people's minds at a distance and through walls. This knowledge however is quickly forgotten, and the scholar turned gipsy is soon wandering the cumnor Hills and Berkshire downs waiting for a spark from heaven. Outwardly, in places, the landscape must look much as Arnold left. Rural poverty has gone (the 1870s farming slump was very bad in this area and most people are well-heeled, which in turn means things are well-preserved; a with healthy yellow lichen on grey garden walls. Hedges between fields are thick with mature trees.
at the University of Toronto. Move the window containing that text aside to continue reading this essay. A hundred and fifty million years ago the cumnor Hills were coral reefs being laid down in a jurassic sea, and one of the reasons why. Oxford is where it is: the coral is so hard that it forces the Thames to loop northwards; Oxford faces it across the river. In some parts of the world the cumnors would barely be noticed. They are perhaps five miles long, two miles wide, 500 feet high at the most. Four slightly higher points could be called peaks — cumnor Hill, hirst Hill (which are in line with each other and boar's Hill, which is separated from them by a low saddle or col.
It is about questioning meanings. We even argue about whether real meanings exist. Plato believed we could find the real meaning to the concepts contained in words by using our reason. Hobbes thought that the meaning of words has mattress to be imposed on us by authorities. Sometimes a dictionary will show you that competing meanings exist - see the note at the end of entry for idea. However, a dictionary's meanings may not be the same as the ones your essay should relate. To avoid this problem, use dictionaries as an aid, for your own benefit, but discuss, in the essay, the meanings that you find in the books that the essay relates.
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Dictionary and other definitions: When writing an essay, you may think it a good idea to start with an explanation (or definition ) of the terms used in the title. If homework you do this, i suggest you look for the explanations (or definitions) in the books that the essay relates. Sometimes we think that there must be "real" meanings to words, or meanings that everyone agrees on, and that by starting from there, writing the essay will be simpler. One way students try to do this is by giving definitions from dictionaries. It is common sense to use dictionaries to understand words. But, do not treat their definitions as a secular form of dogma. Dictionaries try to give agreed meanings to words, but academic life is about competing meanings.