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The Last Bargain Poem Class 8 English | Rabindranath Tagore | Explanation

The Last Bargain (Poem)

“Come and hire me,” I cried, while in the morning

I was walking on the stone-paved road.

Sword in hand the King came in his chariot.

He held my hand and said, “I will hire you with

my power,”

But his power counted for naught, and he went away in

his chariot.

In the heat of the mid-day the houses stood with

shut doors.

I wandered along the crooked lane.

An old man came out with his bag of gold.

He pondered and said, “I will hire you with my money.”

He weighed his coins one by one, but I turned away.

It was evening. The garden hedge was all a flower.

The fair maid came out and said, “I will hire you with

a smile.”

Her smile paled and melted into tears, and she went

back alone into the dark.

The sun glistened on the sand, and the sea waves broke

waywardly.

A child sat playing with shells.

He raised his head and seemed to know me and said,

“I hire you with nothing.”

From henceforward that bargain struck in child’s play

made me a free man.

Explanation of The Last Bargain

The poet’s first stanza starts with a man who is looking for work. The story starts in the morning, and the man is walking on a road filled with stones. A king comes by on his chariot, holding a sword in his hand. He offers power to the man if he will be his servant. The man does not like this offer because he feels that the king is not worth much.

The second offer comes to him in the afternoon when it was really hot outside. He was surprised when he saw an older man with a bag of gold coming toward him on the scary road. The old man thought for a while and then offered him gold coins in return for his work. But the man didn’t accept because he knew that gold could not buy happiness forever.

The man saw a garden full of flowers and a fence. The woman who looked after the garden came out and asked him to work for her. He agreed. She wanted him to work for her every evening, but he found that she would only give him a smile and it would melt into tears. So he refused her offer also.

Finally, the man reached the shore where he saw a child playing with seashells. The sun was shining and it looked like the waves were breaking through boundary lines. The man came up to him and said he had nothing to give him in return for his work. But then he found that wasn’t true-he would not have to compromise his freedom by giving him something from his time there.

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NCERT Solutions of The Last Bargain

Working with the poem (Page 74)

Question 1: Who is the speaker in the poem?

Answer: A daily wage earner who is looking for a job is the speaker of the poem.

Question 2: “The king, sword in hand” suggests

(i) wealth

(ii) power

(iii) more power than wealth.

Mark the appropriate item in the context of stanza 1.

Answer: (ii) power

Question 3: The old man offered the speaker a lot of money. Why did he turn down the offer?

Answer: The man offered the speaker a bag of gold. The speaker wanted to find happiness and job satisfaction, but he thought it would not be possible if he worked for the man who was busy counting and weighing his coins. So, because of this reason, the speaker refused to work for him.

Question 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.

Answer:

  1. “I hire you with nothing.”
  2. “Her smile paled and melted into tears.”
  3. “But his power counted for naught.”

Question 5: How did the speaker feel after talking to the child on the beach?

Answer: The speaker met a child playing with sea-shells near the beach. The speaker talked with the little one. After talking, he realised that he might not earn any money, but this made him happy and satisfied.

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