Poem 08 Incident Of A French Camp

INCIDENT OF A FRENCH CAMP (ROBERT BROWNING) 1812 - 1889

Q:1.Who were the two forces locked against one another in war?
The two forces locked against one another in war were French and German. 

Q:2.Under whose great command did the French army make the attack?
The French army was marching under the command of the great Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. It attacked the German bordering town Ratisbon. 

Q:3.Where was he (the great commander) when the attack was made?
Napoleon was standing on a little mound about one mile away from the battlefield. He had very conflicting thoughts; thoughts of victory over Germans at the same time had a fear of losing. 

Q:4.Who brought to him the news about the outcome of the assault?
A young soldier, on horseback, bought to him the news of his victory. 

Q:5.Why did the messenger hold on the horse’s mane and keep his lips compressed when he stood before Napoleon?
When the messenger stood before Napoleon, he held on to the horse’s mane because he was severely wounded and needed something to hold on to. He kept his lips compressed to hold back moans or cries of pain. 

Q:6.What did the messenger give to his leader?
He gave the news of their victory to his leader and told him that he, himself, had placed their flag in the market place of Ratisbon. 

Q:7.What did Napoleon ask him?
When Napoleon saw the solider wounds, his eyes softened with sympathy for the young soldier, and he asked him with affection if he was injured badly. 

Q:8.What was his reply?
However, the solider was severely wounded but he wanted to give the news of their victory to the emperor himself. He paid no deed to his injury and accomplished the task successfully. The commander’s question reminded him of the injury, and he could no longer hold onto his courage. He gave up his struggle and said that he was dead. With these last words, he fell dead at the feet of his leader. 

Q:9.What does the compound noun “battery-smokes” mean?
It means the clouds of smoke that spread from the batteries of guns. 

Q:10.What does the compound noun “flag-bird” means?
It means Napoleon’s flag. France’s national emblem under Napoleon’s reign had an eagle on it. 

Q:11.What is meant by the term “to balance the prone brow”?
The term means “the forehead inclined right forward”. Napoleon was very anxious about the attack on Ratisbon. Every part of his body as well as movement bespoke of his worry. 

Q:12.What does the poet present the example of a mother eagle?
He presents the example of a mother eagle because Napoleon identified himself with an eagle (i-e why his flag bore an eagle) and considered his soldiers as eaglets. This relation between the leader and his soldiers tells us the intensity of love that Napoleon had for his soldiers. 

Q:13.What is the present name of Ratisbon?
The present name of Ratisbon is Regensburg. 

Q:14. Message of the poem
In this poem, Browning paints the picture of an incident of the French Camp, in dramatic version. He describes the heroic action of a wounded soldier, who’s heroic devotion to duty and his pride in it and inspiring and worthy of admiration. The poet has given a poetic amount of incidence that took place during the attack of French army on German City Ratisbon.
“A work of real merit wants favor at last.”

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