English Language and History

The brief stories below are taken from history, myth or fiction. Each one is accompanied by games and exercises in essential grammar and free composition, based on old school textbooks.

A to Z Index

Eddi’s Service
two-part story
Music: Dmitry Bortniansky
Rudyard Kipling’s poem about St Wilfrid’s chaplain and an unusual Christmas congregation.
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)

EDDI, priest of St Wilfrid
In his chapel at Manhood End,
Ordered a midnight service
For such as cared to attend.

But the Saxons were keeping Christmas,
And the night was stormy as well.
Nobody came to service,
Though Eddi rang the bell.

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Six Posts
The Nightingale and the Glow Worm
Music: George Frideric Handel
A kind of Aesop’s Fable in verse, about mutual respect among those with different talents.
By William Cowper
(1731-1800)

A NIGHTINGALE, that all day long
Had cheered the village with his song,
Nor yet at eve his note suspended,
Nor yet when eventide was ended,
Began to feel, as well he might,
The keen demands of appetite

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November
Music: Jan Ladislav Dussek
Humorist Thomas Hood obviously didn’t like to see the nights drawing in
By Thomas Hood
(1799-1845)

NO sun - no moon!
No morn — no noon —
No dawn — no dusk — no proper time of day.
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member.

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The Rainbow
Music: John Field
God’s covenant of love is a fresh joy every time it appears.
By William Wordsworth
(1770-1850)

MY heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!

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Six Honest Serving-Men
Music: Felix Mendelssohn
A professional journalist and author recognises that he has met his match
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)

I KEEP six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them east and west;
But after they have worked for me,
I give them all a rest.

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Daffodils
Music: Sir William Sterndale Bennett
A poem about the blessing of fond memories.
By William Wordsworth
(1770-1850)

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

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‘Hail, Liberty!’
Music: Edward Elgar
Kipling borrowed from the Greek Independence movement to give thanks for the end of the Great War.
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)

WE knew thee of old,
Oh divinely restored,
By the light of thine eyes
And the light of thy Sword.

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All Posts
Tagged Poets and Poetry (23 posts)
page 1
1 Eddi’s Service
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
Rudyard Kipling’s poem about St Wilfrid’s chaplain and an unusual Christmas congregation.
2 ‘The Overland Mail’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A tribute to the postal workers of British India, and to the kind of empire they helped to build.
3 ‘Recessional’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A heartfelt plea for humility at the height of Britain’s Empire.
4 ‘The Nightingale and the Glow Worm’
By William Cowper
(1731-1800)
A kind of Aesop’s Fable in verse, about mutual respect among those with different talents.
5 Ring out the Old, Ring in the New
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)
For Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Christmas was a time to let the dead past bury its dead.
6 Christmas Bells
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)
The sounds of an English country Christmas helped Tennyson in his deep mourning for an old friend.
page 2
7 Six Honest Serving-Men
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A professional journalist and author recognises that he has met his match
8 ‘Sussex’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A meditation on our instinctive love for the place in which we live.
9 Northumberland
By Wilfrid Wilson Gibson
(1878-1962)
A poem of nostalgia for the sea breezes and yellow gorse of Northumberland.
10 King Arthur’s Last Request
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)
The legendary British warrior makes ready for his final journey, leaving Sir Bedivere with one last duty to perform.
11 The Pitman Poet
Joseph Skipsey taught himself to read and write by candlelight, hundreds of feet below ground in a Northumberland pit.
12 ‘My Shadow’
By Robert Louis Stevenson
(1850-1894)
An enduringly popular, bitter-sweet poem by the author of ‘Treasure Island’.
page 3
13 The Rainbow
By William Wordsworth
(1770-1850)
God’s covenant of love is a fresh joy every time it appears.
14 A Farewell
By Charles Kingsley
(1819-75)
A last goodbye breathes promise of a merry meeting.
15 ‘Hail, Liberty!’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
Kipling borrowed from the Greek Independence movement to give thanks for the end of the Great War.
16 ‘If...’
By Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936)
A reflection on what builds real character
17 Daffodils
By William Wordsworth
(1770-1850)
A poem about the blessing of fond memories.
18 Love’s Last Knot
By Richard Crashaw
(1613-1649)
Richard Crashaw offers the hope of eternity for wedded love.
page 4
19 Ozymandias
By Percy Bysshe Shelley
(1792-1822)
The glory of political power soon passes away.
20 The Music of Silence
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge
(1772-1834)
In Coleridge’s epic poem, the Ancient Mariner, amid the horrors of a ship of dead men, sees a sight both beautiful and surreal.
21 November
By Thomas Hood
(1799-1845)
Humorist Thomas Hood obviously didn’t like to see the nights drawing in
22 ‘I Remember’
By Thomas Hood
(1799-1845)
A poem of nostalgia tinged with regret.
23 Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (extract)
By Thomas Gray
(1716-1771)
The poet reflects on the obscure lives that most of us lead.
Authors
1 post
William Cowper (1731-1800)
1 post
Richard Crashaw (1613-1649)
1 post
Wilfrid Wilson Gibson (1878-1962)
1 post
Thomas Gray (1716-1771)
1 post
Thomas Hood (1799-1845)
2 posts
Charles Kingsley (1819-75)
1 post
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)
7 posts
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
1 post
1 post
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
3 posts
William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
2 posts
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Subject and Object

Use each of the words below as either the subject or the object of a verb.

Time. Importance. Can.

The unsung surveyor from Cheshire, who built railways and made friends across the world.
By William Ewart Gladstone
(1808-1898)
William Gladstone explains that a truly ‘exceptional nation’ respects the equality and rights of all nations.
By William Ewart Gladstone
(1808-1898)
William Gladstone warns voters not to leave foreign policy in the hands of interventionist politicians.
By Samuel Smiles
(1812-1904)
George Stephenson won the admiration of French navvies by showing them how a Geordie works a shovel.
Cut
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Polyword ‘Perch’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Do you know ‘conscientious’ (7 letters), and ‘unreturned serve’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with PIG and finish with STY.
Do you know ‘pull along behind one’ (3 letters), and ‘self-evident or accepted proposition’ (5 letters)?
Do you know ‘additional’ (5), and ‘reject contemptuously’ (5)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (375)
Fiction (80)

letters game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

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numbers game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

More like this: Maths Gym Mental arithmetic