The Scholar Gipsy: Summary and Analysis

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      The Scholar Gipsy composed by Matthew Arnold first appeared in the volume of 1853 titled Poems. Arnold appears to have read the story of the Oxford Scholar who joined a Gipsy company in Glanvil's Vanity of Dogmatising in the year 1845. Though Arnold liked his poem he didn't rate it very high. In a letter to Clough he wrote;

"I am glad you like the Gipsy Scholar but what does it do for you? Homer animates - Shakespeare animates - in its poor way think Sohrab and Rustum animate the Gipsy Scholar at best awakens a pleasing melancholy. But this is not what we want".

      Whatever the poet's own opinion may be, now critics consider it as the most memorable of Arnold's poems.

      The story, as Arnold cited from Glanvil's book is as follows:

"There was very lately a lad in the University of Oxford, who being of very pregnant and ready parts, and yet wanting the encouragement of preferment, was by poverty forced to leave his studies there, and to cast himself upon the world for a livelihood. Now, his necessities growing daily on him, he was at last forced to join himself to a company of vagabond gypsies, whom he occasionally met with, and to follow their trade for a maintenance. Among these extravagant people, he quickly got so much of their love and esteem, that they discovered to him their mystery, in the practice of which by the pregnancy of his wit and parts he soon grew so good and proficient as to be able to outdo his instructors. After he had been, a pretty while, well instructed in the trade, there chanced to ride by a couple of scholars who had formerly been of his acquaintance. The Scholars had quickly spied out their old friend among the gypsies, and their amazement to see him among such society had well-nigh discovered him; but by a sign prevented them from owning him before the crew and taking one of them privately aside, desired him with his friend to go to an inn not far from thence, promising to come there to them. They accordingly went thither and he followed... The Scholar Gipsy, having given them an account of the necessity which drove him to that kind of life, told them that the people he went with were not such impostors as they were taken for; but that they had a traditional kind of learning among them, and would do wonders by the power of imagination and that he himself had learnt much of their art and improved it further than themselves could. To evince truth of what he told them, he said that he would remove into another room, leaving them to discourse together, and upon his return tell them the sum of what they had talked of; which accordingly he performed, giving them a full account of what had passed between them in his absence. The Scholars being amazed at so unexpected a discovery, earnestly desired him to unriddle the mystery. In this he have them satisfaction by telling them that what he did was by the power of imagination, his fancy finding theirs, and that himself had dictated to them the discourse they held together while he was away from them; that there were warrantable ways of heightening the imagination to that pitch so as to bind another's, and that when he had compassed the whole secret, some parts of which he said he was yet ignorant of, he intended to leave their company and give the world an account of what he had learned".

      The art which Gipsies practiced would now be called Hypnotism. During Arnold's time it was known as Mesmerism and the original title of the poem was "The First Mesmerist" or "The Wandering Mesmerist".

      Though Arnold depended upon Glanvil for the elements of the story the real subject of the poem is not the mesmeric powers of the scholar; the scholar is less important than the description of the materialistic Victorian age the age of sick hurry and divided aims, doubts, distractions, and perplexed questionings. A new character is invested on Glanvil's Scholar. He becomes a symbol of idealism, of quest for truth. The scholar of the legend lived in the 17th century. But Arnold's scholar roams around the Oxford countryside offering flowers to maidens coming for May dance, and remains, watching the scenic beauty of the country-side. Arnold himself fancied that he saw him on a snowy evening climbing up a hilly path looking at the illuminated Christ Church Hall.

      Arnold is not at all interested in telling the story of his scholar, in detail, though echoes of some of Glanvil's phrases are heard in the poem like, "pregnant parts and quick inventive brains", "tired of knocking at preferments' door";, and the secret of their art" etc. Arnold's Scholar Gipsy is different in many ways from the legendary figure. His Gipsy is quite an uncharacteristic one; he avoids the distracting company of his brotherhood and transcends the limitations of time and space. He steadfastly pursues his ideal, the quest for truth, in Glanvil's time as well as in Arnold's time. This quest for truth of the scholar is Arnold's own. Nothing even resembling it is to be found in the original. Equally original is the chance meeting of this shadowy figure, by villagers and maidens coming to dance in May. Arnold's Gipsy Scholar is a dream figure, a grand vision of idealism and faith. who like the nightingale in the Ode of Keats is immortal. With this conviction the poet declares

No, no, thou hast not felt the lapse of hours

      Surely, as a literary piece Arnold's The Scholar Gipsy is not likely to feel the 'lapse of hours'.


      Leslie Stephen mentioned that The Scholar Gipsy by Matthew Arnold "remains one of the most exquisite poems in the English language". In thought and technique, in spirit and strength, in its significance and symbolism, and above all in creating an undefinable atmosphere that pervades it like a perfume from heaven, this poem remains a rare model. From the time it first appeared, this piece, was a darling of Arnold's critics and readers. Curiously Arnold himself rated it below Sohrab and Rustum, a judgement born out of personal prejudice. The poem has an elegiac note but the message that comes out like a trumpet blast will not be missed, on-ward with a free impulse, ever onward, "still nursing the unconquerable hope, still clutching the inviolable shade". This will be the inspiring final impression left by the poem. Arnold keeps the elements of the story he found in Glanvil's pages. But his imagination has given an alchemic transmutation to the Scholar Gipsy to make him a symbol of a fixity of aim, desire and business. The poet begins the poem following the traditions of a pastoral elegy but soon shifts to a lovely description of the Oxford countryside. Then he gives a picture of the life that the Gipsy Scholar might have led. The mystery surrounding the soul of the wanderer becomes very well eerie. Then comes the contrast between the attitude to life of the wanderer and the poet's contemporaries. While the Scholar has one aim, one business and one desire, the moderns are pestered with the sick hurry and divided aims. Then follows the Arnoldian disparaging of half believers, casual creeds, repeated shocks, sick fatigue, languid doubt and palsied heart. And The Scholar Gipsy becomes at once a modern elegy, an exquisite fancy and a poignant judgment upon the illusions of modern age.

      The poem has the beauty of a symphony. The towers of Oxford in the distance; the festal light in Christ Church College; the brief narration of Glanvil's story and the eerie and mysterious figure of the Scholar Gipsy in his quaint archaic dress; the poet's fancying of meeting him; and finally the moral issues in the final stanzas all blend into a whole as the various instrumental music form a great symphony blend. The poem is full of beauty of thought and phrase and image; then there is the metrical excellence to add to all those. Erid Hammer commenting on the metrical excellence says that in The Scholar Gipsy one finds the most notable metrical inventions of the Victorian Age. "The Stately Stanza not merely sweeps but sways and swings with as much grace as state".

      The local Oxford countryside colour seen in the poem is a matter of admiration to lovers of Oxford. There are some critics objecting to the too much Oxford and too little of the Scholar in the poem. According to them those who are unfamiliar with the Oxford countryside are likely to find many references obscure. Professor Saintsbury's defence of Arnold over this aspect is worth quoting. "One may not be an Italian and never have been to Italy, yet find Devina Comedia made not teasing but infinitely vivid and agreeable by Dante's innumerable references, to this, country, Florentine in general... But if the Scholar had been an alumnus of Timbuctoo, and for Camnor and Godstow had been substituted strange places in 'wa' and 'ja', I cannot think, even to those who are of Oxford the intrinsic greatness of this noble poem would be much affected." True, localities had always an influence on Arnold. London, the Lake districts, Switzerland and of course Oxford were the main places where Arnold moved and naturally those places gave the local colour to his powers. And that dear city with her dreaming spires declaring its glory of medieval ages kindled Arnold's imagination enough to immortalise it; The Scholar Gipsy and Thyrsis are the results.

      One may notice the influence of Keats, especially that of Ode to the Nightingale and Ode to Autumn in The Scholar Gipsy. According to FR. Leavis the spirit of second stanza of Ode to Autumn is very much present in it. In it the personified Autumn is described: a cider press, with patient look
Thou watchest the last oozing hours by hours

       That picture is very much like Arnold's mysterious Scholar, who;

hast been seen, or hanging on a gate
To watch the threshers in the mossy barns

      Again, as Keats describes the Nightingale as a symbol of freedom against;

The weariness, the fever and the fret

      Which is the lot of mankind, the Scholar Gipsy is the symbol of peace against man's 'sick hurry' and 'divided ams'. Further just as Keats assigns immortality to the Nightingale in the lines,

But thou possest an immortal lot,
And we imagine the exempt from age
And living as thou liv'st on Glanvil's page

      Arnold makes the scholar immortal, Certainly, there is striking, similarity, but none can say that Arnold imitated Keats.

      The Pastoral Setting: Arnold casts his material in the pastoral mold, and gives vent to his pensive reflections under the similitude of a shepherd. The pastoral form, evolved among the Greeks passed on to English literature during the Renaissance. English poets from the time of Spenser to that of Arnold made use of the form profitably. In the beginning of the poem the poet bids the Shepherd to go to his flocks for his fellow Shepherds are calling him. He can return in the evening to read Glanvil's book. The Scholar is one who had left the university to join the gipsy-flock. Long after he had been seen by many wandering through the Oxford countryside. The rustics developed a myth that the mysterious scholar was haunting alehouses and ferries, Fyfield elm and Godstow Bridge.

      The scenery Arnold depicts is that of the Oxford countryside, through which he wandered while he was at the university. His love for his alma mater was Glibly declared in tender and poetic passages on many occasions. The same love is discernable in this poem too. He contrasts the peace and serenity one finds in the woods and glades of Oxford countryside with feverish fret of life from which even his university is not free. Taking all these into consideration, there is nothing objectionable in giving such an Oxford setting to a pastoral poem. On the contrary there is added fidelity present as he is depicting an area which he knows well.

      The topography of the Scholar Gipsy's haunt: The areas through which the scholar is described moving is the countryside west of Oxford. According to Macaulay, Arnold did to Oxford countryside what Wordsworth did to the Lake Districts. There is no difficulty in recognising the several places mentioned and there is nothing irritating to find the Oxford colour in the poem. But there is positive effect; the scenes are made loveable, for the author's own love for the place has enriched the description with life, colour and emotion, and more important for the pastoral poem, the native passions of the local rustic folk.

      Some of the places mentioned in the poem and their geographical location are the following:

      At about two miles distance from Oxford border, in Berkshire is a small hill, Cumnor Hurst. (Hurst in Stanza 16, Line. 57). Just nearby is the village Cumnor (Stanza 47, Line. 69, Stanza 11, Line. 101, Stanza 13, Line. 127). A further two miles away is the ferry; Bab-lock-hithe (Stanza 8, Line. 74) on the river Thames. In this part is the Wychwood forest (Stanza 8, Line. 79). A few miles south of the above-mentioned ferry is Fyfield elm (Stanza 9, Line. 83) where maidens come for May-pole dance. On the right side of Cumner is South Hinksey. (Stanza 13, Line. 125), a low lying area liable to be flooded. The causeway (Stanza 13, Line. 121) where Arnold fancied having met the Scholar still exists. Close to Hinksey is the road from Oxford leading to Bagley Wood (Stanza 12, Line. 111). Almost north of Oxford about two miles distant, near the ruined nunnery of Godstow is Godstow bridge (Stanza 10 Line. 91), The place where the poet says he would rest (Stanza 3, Line. 21-30) from where the eye travels down to Oxford's towers" is the upland that lies between Hinksey and Cumner. From there one can get a clear view of Christ Church Hall (Stanza 13, Line. 129) especially when the windows of the hall are lighted up.

      Arnold's Idea of Ideal life as Seen in The Scholar Gipsy: Arnold lived at a time scepticism and pessimism were having their sway on intellectuals. The impact of science had a great deal to do with it. Hugh Walker points it out clearly when he says:

Science has so filled the minds and possessed the imagination of man that its indirect influence has been greater than its direct influence. Whatever its ultimate creed may prove to be, science has certainly been in part responsible for the growth of a spirit of materialism. Science has therefore tended to depress, to give a tone of stoic resignation, not of pessimism, to those who without accepting materialistic opinions have been affected by them.

      Arnold, an intellectual, true to his period, shows a tendency to move away from orthodox Christianity to rationalism. A clear disgust for the world around, is to be found in this poems. People toil for long, strive fretfully, but achieve nothing. They waste their energy in meaningless toil and combat, exhaust themselves but remain no better than what they were in the beginning. They have no single aim before them; or they have too many of them and are distracted by the multiplicity of them. Further they have no spiritual sustenance. They cling to the creeds of their religion not out of conviction, but because they were born in that creed. Neither do they think about religion deeply. In the absence of insight their deeds do not bear fruits. Though they might appear to succeed, sure failure awaits them along with the resulting despondency. This results from the absence of a worthy aim and the lack of singularity of purpose. This is Arnold's "criticism of life".

      Contrasted against such 'sick hurry' and divided aims is the time and life of the Scholar, who was born in days when wits were fresh and clear", He had "one aim, one business and one desire". Glanvil's story tells of the Scholar joining the gypsies both out of necessity and with the intention of learning their mysterious skills. Arnold develops the second point and pictures the scholar as a symbol of untiring quest for truth. He is preoccupied with a single ideal. In the eye of the world he spends a solitary and pensive life. But Arnold gets inspiration from such a life, for he finds the Scholar pursuing his aim with a fixity of purpose not found among the Victorians, and without wasting his energy in other worthless and worldly pursuits. The Scholar is waiting for 'heaven sent moments' to reach him so that he may achieve his aim. Thus, he stands as an ideal, a mystic and also a mysterious person, giving a message to the poet's contemporaries, the people with half believed creeds, divided aims and perplexing doubts.

      The elegiac in The Scholar Gipsy: An elegy is generally considered a brief lyric of lamentation. There is always the expression of a personal loss. But giving a wider scope, any poem distinctly of reflective nature and of a melancholy strain, is an elegy. In this wider sense The Scholar Gipsy is an elegy. Arnold does not lament the death of a person but there is a heartfelt sorrow at the disappearance of a period when life was;

Free from the sick fatigue, the languid doubt.

      The life of the Scholar with his fixity of purpose, and the message he has for the world of fever and fret, is reflected upon in a melancholic strain.

      The life of the Scholar as depicted in the poem is a sombre and solitary one, agreeing with the mood of contemplation and pensive thoughts. The Oxford countryside with the solemnity of the hills, woods and glades is very much there. The voices are there but they are subdued ones. The "drink and clatter" of the rustics in the alehouse, the "Oxford riders blithe" crossing the ferry in the punt, the maidens coming to dance at Fyfield elm, farm hands working hard at haymaking, all are there, but they are all subordinated to the melancholic tone.

      Life in nature, as Arnold describes in the poem, is tinged with melancholy. The life. the Wandering Scholar leads, too is pictured with seriousness and sadness. He is a solitary figure seen in glimpses and that too rarely. He is "pensive and tongue-tied". Rustics see him in some 'lone alehouse'. He sits 'leaning backwards in a pensive dream'. He offers flowers to the girls who come for dance, "but none has words she can report of." Though he conversed with the two Oxonions briefly, he abruptly left them and returned to them no more. He wears a hat and dress of olden days and sleeps in "some sequestered grange". There is definitely a melancholic colour in the picture of such a one awaiting "heaven sent moments".

      In dealing with the life of the Scholar Arnold, almost unconsciously, is drawn to compare his own life with that of the commonalty of people of the Victorian Age. He clearly sees the gulf between the attitude to life of the scholar and that of the modern times as a parallel to the gulf between he himself and his times. The fever and fret of the times, and the aimless pursuit of silly objectives of people around, and their philistinism troubled Arnold very much. Naturally, we find in him an intense longing for a life like that of the Scholar's. All these facts add to the elegiac tone of the poem.

Stanza Wise Summary

Stanza 1 (Line. 1-10)

      The poet asks a shepherd to go to the field in answer to the call of his friends from the hill, and let loose his sheep from the folds. "Don't leave the flocks unfed; don't give a chance for other shepherds call for you; and don't allow new blades to grow without being grazed; when the fields are quiet, and the shepherds and sheep dogs are resting, and an occasional white sheep is found crisscrossing the moon blanch'd pasture, you come shepherd and continue the search (quest)". (Following the conventions of pastoral poems Arnold mentions the shepherd. Presumably, the Shepherd is a friend of the Scholar Gipsy. The 'quest' could be that of the Scholar Gipsy. Or it is symbolic of the spiritual quest of the thoughtful soul)

Stanza 2 (Line. 11-20)

      The poet, not a shepherd, says he would wait at a place where the reaper had been working lately, and where he leaves his basket and other belongings and go for binding the sheaves in the sun. At noon he would come back for his lunch. At that place the poet would wait and listen to the bleating of the sheep, the sound of the reapers and the living sound of a summer day.

Stanza 3 (Line. 21-30)

      The poet would remain in that place, a screened-off-nook in the half-reaped field, till evening. Scarlet coloured poppy flowers can be seen amidst the corn; so also are seen blue convolvulus flowers, on creepers that climb the roots and stems of trees. From the shade of such trees, he can see the towers of the University of Oxford in the distance.

Stanza 4 (Line. 31-40)

      Glanvil's book, The Vanity of Dogmatizing, in which the legend of the Scholar Gipsy is mentioned lies near him. The poet wants to read it again; the story of the Oxford Scholar, a very smart and brainy person who got frustrated by the fawning, necessary to achieve success at Oxford, left his friends and joined a gang of gipsies. He roamed with the gipsies but little came out of it. But he did not come back to Oxford at all.

Stanza 5 (Line 41-50)

      Many years later, two Oxford Scholars, who know him chances to meet him. He told them that the Gipsies know many secrets like how to control the thoughts of other people. Once he learnt the whole secret of their's he would leave them and make the knowledge beneficial to the world. But to master that skill divine illumination is needed.

Stanza 6 (Line. 51-60)

      After telling this much he left them and was never again seen. But there is a rumour that the lost scholar was seen to wander around the Oxford countryside. People have got rare glimpses of him, dressed in old hat and grey cloak, looking thoughtful, and always silent. Shepherds have seen him at Hurst hill; on entering some alehouse at Berkshire they found, him seated on a bench near the fireside.

Stanza 7 (Line. 61-70)

      But while those who drink make the, din and clatter, he would disappear. The poet imagines that he knows the Scholar's looks, which makes the shepherds inquisitive about him. The poet used to ask boys engaged in scaring away birds from wheat fields whether they had come across with the Scholar Gipsy. When he lay on his boat kept in cool river banks, near sunny grass meadows, to defeat the summer heat, he had wondered whether the wandering Scholar lived in the nearby thick greenery of Cumner hills.

Stanza 8 (Line. 71-80)

      The poet knows that the Scholar loves solitary areas. The Oxford riders as they cross the ferry at Bablock-hithe, on the river Thames, have seen him sitting in the boat trailing his hand in water; leaning back and looking at the moonlit stream, he appeared to be in a dream of fancy; and he had a heap of flowers in his lap, possibly plucked from Wychwood forest (Bab-lock-hithe is a ferry on the Thames some two kms. away from Oxford. Wychwood is a forest about 15 kms beyond Bab-lock-hithe).

Stanza 9 (Line. 81-90)

      When the riders landed the scholar had disappeared. Girls coming from distant places to take part in the May-pole dance round Fyfield elm have seen him in the evening, roaming in the field, or crossing a stile to reach the public road. Often he has given them flowers, white anemones, dew-washed dark bluebells, or purple orchises; but nobody has reported having heard him speak.

Stanza 10 (Line. 91-100)

      During haymaking time in June, when the haymakers' scythes will shine in the sun, and men go for a bath in the Thames where black swallows flit around they have seen him sitting on the bushy bank. They recognized him from his gipsy dress, thin figure, thoughtful mood and dark dreamy eyes. But once they finished bathing he was not to be traced at all.

Stanza 11 (Line. 101-110)

      At some houses near Cumner Hills, housewives darning near the open doors have seen him learning on a gate watching the farm-hands threshing in barns. Children who wander the slopes of the hill searching for cress plants in streams have seen him watching animals feeding in the pasture all day long on April days and as the stars appearing he has slipped away through the dew-filled grass.

Stanza 12 (Line. 111-120)

      In autumn the Gipsies mostly pitch their smoke darkened tents in Bagleywood and spread their clothes on the nearby bush making the area look multi-coloured. When the scholar comes near, even the black-bird picking its food, is not at all disturbed. For he who moves round with a twig in hand, waiting for the divine inspiration to reach him, is a familiar figure to the bird.

Stanza 13 (Line. 121-130)

      Once during winter the poet appears to have met him on a raised path through which people move during floods. Didn't the poet pass him on the wooden bridge and the scholar, in his overcoat, braving the snow, was looking at the winter look of Hinksey; as he climbed the Cummer Hill and reached the top didn't he turn to watch the festival lights at Oxford's Christ Church Hall. Then he might have found shelter in some lonely farm house.

(There are two Hinkseys, north and south, both villages near Oxford).

Stanza 14 (Line. 131-140)

      The poet thinks he is fancying all these; Two hundred years have passed after the story of the scholar was told in Oxford, and Doctor Glanvil wrote it down, that he left Oxford and joined the Gipsy group. He must be dead and lying buried in some quiet churchyard, and over his unmarked grave tall grasses grow, flowering nettles sway and dark red fruited yew trees throw their shade.

Stanza 15 (Line. 141-150)

      (After telling that the scholar is dead, the poet feels that he is immortal). The Scholar Gipsy can not die by the passage of time. The life of mortal men is worn out by the continuous shift in their aims. The repeated shocks resulting from this shifting of goal wears out even the strongest of men and destroys the adaptability of the most nimble-minded. (Our nerves are shattered by a succession of sorrows and pleasures and our talents are scattered by a thousand plans. As a result we lose the zest for life). We give up our care-worn and exhausted life to our guardian angels and we remain under the influence of our circumstances.

      (Just-pausing Genius: According to the ancient Roman religion, each person was allotted an attendant spirit at birth. It determined his character, presided over his fortunes and ultimately conducted him out of the world. The guardian Genius of man which pauses justly or delays long enough to give him an opportunity to utilise his powers before putting a stop to his career; or the spirit which watches over a man's life and pauses in its works at the time of his death).

Stanza 16 (Line. 151-160)

      The Scholar has not lived like others wasting his faculties and energies on shifting aims; so why should he die and be forgotten? He is immortal. He had one aim, one business and one desire. Otherwise he would have wasted his faculties like other men and like them he would have been forgotten. People who were born with him are dead and gone. So also the poet and his generation would be gone. But the Scholar has an immortal life. He is not to be destroyed by the passage of time, and would live as the story lives in the pages of Glanvils' book, because he has something in him which the poet's generation unfortunately does: not possess; (One aim, one business, one desire).

Stanza 17 (Line. 161-170)

      The Scholar had renounced the world early enough when his powers were fresh, idealism not dimmed without diverting his faculty to petty worldliness. He was fixed to a goal and didn't waste his energies in other things. The sick fatigue and languid doubts that trouble the poet's generation have not touched him. The modern generation struggle but do not know what they struggle for. Each human being tries a hundred different things and tries to live in a hundred different ways. They too eagerly wait like the Scholar but while Scholar waits with hope they do not have hope.

Stanza 18 (Line. 171-180)

      The Scholar waits for divine inspiration to reach him. For the moderns are only "vauge half believers" who do not feel deeply enough in the creed which they casually profess; they do not have a strong will and their visions have never fructified in action; their resolutions have never been carried out. Each year they make new resolutions only to face new disappointments; by hesitation and mistakes they waste life; whatever success they achieve one day, is lost the next day. Still they too await the flash of divine inspiration.

Stanza 19 (Line. 181-190)

      Yes the poet and his generation await the divine flash, but to their disappointment, it never comes and they suffer. The one who is in the intellectual throne (presumably the wisest) has suffered much. He describes all his sad experiences and wretched days, how he kept the flickering hope in him and how he lightened the burden of his suffering through different devices.

Stanza 20 (Line. 191-200)

      This is the plight of the wisest; the rest suffer intensely and wish for the end of their unhappy life. They dismiss all hopes of a better life and find consolation in a sad patience which is almost equal to despair. None has the hope of the Scholar Gypsy. He moves around the countryside like a run-away boy, believing in his aim, and with clear joy. Time has blown away from him, every sign of doubt.

Stanza 21 (Line. 201-210)

      He was born at a time when man's thinking was fresh and clear, and life was sparkling like the waters of the Thames, well before the sick hurry and divided aims made life over-burdencd and sickly. The poet advises the scholar to run away from the modern people; their contact can make him also sickly. Let him run away and hide himself in deeper woods. Like Dido who cautioned her friend not to approach her in Hades, let him signal the moderns to go away and keep himself secluded.

      (Dido: When the Greeks destroyed Troy, Aeneas, one of the Trojan princes, escaped and set sail to Italy. On the way he halted at Carthage where Dido, the queen, fell deeply in love with him. Some time later, Aeneas deserted her and she in disappointment slew herself. In the nether worlds (Hades) he met her again and then offered her his love. But she sternly turned him away because he had betrayed her in the upper world).

      Lewes Jones remarks that this stanza shows the "characteristic pensive moralising" of Arnold. This is considered by many as the "most characteristic and memorable part" of the poem. From it comes out Arnold's opinion of the contemporary age and most of his disgust and fret arose from this conception. He believed that modern life was nothing but a bundle of feverish haste, conflicting aims and pursuits, overwork, paralysed hearts and nothing else. Modern life, to him was an evil, a disease, to be shunned. So he advises his Scholar Gipsy not to come in touch with modern man.

Stanza 22 (Line. 211-220)

      The Scholar Gipsy should keep intact his unconquerable hope, and live a life of solitude (Clutching the inviolable shade) wandering at night, through silvery glades on the boarder of forests where none is able to meet him. Let him on moon-lit nights come out in some lush slopes, and listen to the songs of nightingales coming from dark valleys or refresh the flowers with dew drops.

Stanza 23 (Line. 221-230)

      But he should run away from modern men avoiding all contacts with them. Their infectious suffering cannot be blissful; on the contrary it can damage his peace of mind. The moderns may like to draw him from his beautiful life into their own kind of distracted and unwholesome life. In that case all his cheerfulness will come to an end; his hopes will become weak; his powers will lose its fixity, his aims will lose its clarity, and his everlasting youth will fade into old age and he will die like others.

Stanza 24 (Line. 231-240)

      So it is better for him to run away from the greetings and the smiles of the moderns, like the Phoenician traders who ran away when the Greeks came into trade in the former's traditional areas. The Phoenicians had the unrivaled monopoly in trade among the Mediterranean countries. Once at sunrise he saw from his ship the brow of a Greek vessel appearing through the creepers in Aegean island. It had on board all luxury items like gold-red grapes, wine from the island of Chios, lushy fig fruits and salted fish. He understood that the Greek ship is intruding in the Phoenician's traditional trading area.

Stanza 25 (Line. 241-250)

      The Greeks were the young and new masters of sea trade. The Phoenician merchant, in disgust quickly seized the rudder, spread the sails and went away, yielding to the Greeks. They sailed in the direction of Syrtes and Sicily and then to the Atlantic through the Straits of Gibralter. He dropped his sails there near the dark Spanish cliffs and unloaded the merchandise before the dark Spainards who were shy to trade with the Phoenicians.

      The Simile in Line. 23 1-250:

      In the last two stanzas Arnold brings out a long-drawn out simile, often called the Homeric or Extended simile, to show how the Scholar Gipsy should try to avoid men of modern times. Just as the Phoenician traders in ancient times left their traditional trading area on the arrival of the Greeks on the scene.

      For several hundred years the Phoenicians, a very civilized people, were unrivaled masters of sea-trade in the Mediterranean area. Later the Greeks became civilized and started competing with the former. In due course the Greeks succeeded in ousting the Phoenicians who however retained their supremacy in the western half of the Mediterranean ultimately extending it to the Atlantic coast of Spain. The dark librarians are to be parallel to the gipsies to whom the Scholar of Oxford ran away. The Greeks are to be parallel to the moderns.


1. And air swept......Oxford towers. (Stanza 3, Line. 26-30)

      The Scholar Gipsy begins abruptly by calling a shepherd, in the pastoral fashion, and asking him to go to the field to attend to his flock. In the meantime the poet would rest in a bower that will protect him from the August sun. Then he gives a description of the scenic charm, the place offers.

      The lime trees lindens-that move in the wind, spread the perfume of the flowers. The flowers rustle down and falls on the grass around him. The shade of the trees protects him from the August sun. And from his resting place he can see the distant towers of Oxford University.

      Arnold has localised the setting of the poem in the Oxford countryside. Almost all the places mentioned in the poem are real. Though there is no specific name for the place where Arnold fancies himself resting, critics and Oxford lovers have found out the probable place. It is the upland that lies between Hinksey and Cumner from where once gets a clear view of the University of Oxford. Arnold had elsewhere in prose gave a very tender description of Oxford where the towers are mentioned.

"And yet steeped in sentiments as she (Oxford) lies, spreading her gardens to the moonlight, and whispering from her towers the last enchantments of the Middle Age, who will deny that Oxford by her ineffable charms, keeps ever calling us nearer to the true goal of all of us to the ideal, to perfection-to beauty, in a word, which is only truth seen from another side?"

      According to some critics by writing The Scholar Gipsy Arnold succeeded in paying, perhaps the best literary tribute, to Oxford, his alma mater, whom he loved tenderly.

2. And I.....skill (Stanza 5, Line. 48-50)

      Here Arnold gives an account of what the Scholar Gipsy told the two of his former University mates about the reason why he joined the Gipsy flock. He has learnt that the gipsies possess mysterious powers to influence the thought-process of others. One has to presume that the Scholar has acquired part of their secret knowledge.

      Here the Scholar says, once he learnt all their secrets he would return from them and pass on the knowledge to the whole world. However he admits, to master their skill fully, divine inspiration is needed.

      Arnold has painted his Scholar as a person with one aim, one business, one desire. It is to master the secret knowledge of the Gipsies, which is likely to prove beneficial to the world. The humanistic quality of the scholar too becomes clear here. The knowledge he may acquire will be let known to the whole mankind; it will be left free for the benefit of the whole world. Arnold, the poet was a true humanist in the Renaissance tradition or more correctly in the Greek tradition. No wonder at his death Sir Leslie Stephen remarked The last of the Greeks is dead". The passage amply illustrates the poet's humanism too.

3. Shepherds......entering. (Stanza 6, Line. 57-60)

      Here Arnold says that there is a rumour that the Scholar who went away from Oxford to join the Gipsy flock in the 17th century is still wandering in the Oxford countryside, dressed in antique hat and grey cloak.

      The story goes that shepherds have met him in spring at the Hurst. The Scholar was sitting on a comfortable bench near the fireside, in some alehouse in Berkshire-moor when they entered the place. But once they started to drink, amid the noise and clatter he would disappear from the place.

      Arnold succeeds in giving an eerie and mysterious nature to the shadowy figure of the Scholar, as if it is the ghost of the Scholar that the Shepherds saw in the alehouse. His mysterious appearance and disappearance cannot be explained otherwise.

      The Berkshire moors appear to be the figment of Arnold's imagination. Ther: are no moors in Berkshire now; neither were there any in Arnold's time. Perhaps Arnold is using the word moor in a loose way to mention some place near the Cumner hills. However some editors say that a moor exist on the slope of Cumner hill.

      Ingle bench: a bench kept in the inglenook, a space near the opening, on either side of a large fire place. It will be quite comfortable to sit on it, during cold days.

      Smock fiock'boors: Smock frock is a workers' dress or uniform. A boor is a rustic. Arnold is fond of long compounded adjectives like this which are found aplenty in Homer.

4. And leaning......moonlit stream. (Stanza 8, Line. 77-80)

      Here Arnold gives a graphic description of the Scholar Gipsy as rumoured to have seen by the Oxford riders who were returning by night.

      He was sitting leaning back as if in a sad dream. He had been straggling his hands, in water. In his lap were flowers which he must have plucked from the distant Wychwood shades. All the while he had been looking fixedly at the stream shining in the moon-light, as if he was in a dream.

      Bablock-hithe is a ferry a few kilometres to the west of Oxford, on the river Thames. Wychwood also is real, and it is further away from Oxford than Babolock: hithe; about 15 kms from the ferry. So, the distant Wychwood bowers'.

      The geographical accuracy of the places as seen in the poems is testimony to the poet's familiarity with the whole countryside around Oxford. Arnold in the company of this brother and Clough used to wander around the whole area.

5. Maidens......public way. (Stanza 9, Line. 82-85)

      Arnold fancifully tells of the many rumoured sightings of the mysterious figure of the Scholar. The Scholar is reported to have been seen by different people, at different places, but always in the countryside close to Oxford. Here he speaks of some girls seeing him.

      During the month of May, girls fom far away places come to Fyfield to dance around the May-pole, on May day. They have seen him often roaming through dark fields. Some have seen him cross a stile over a fence to reach the open road. Many times he has given flowers to the girls, thin leaved anemones, dark blue-bells sparkling with dew drops, and purple orchisses. But nobody has heard him speaking to anybody.

      The mystery around the Scholar intensifies stanza by stanza. His giving flowers to girls agree with the early description of him crossing the Bab-lock ferry with a store of flowers in his lap. However, none has heard him speak a word Has he become dumb? Or is he deliberately avoiding conversing with people? The poet doesn't appear to make the matter clear. The elm tree at Fyfield as mentioned by Arnold appear to be imaginary. However, antiquarians have found out that there was a prominent elm tree in the hamlet of Tubney where the road forks to Abingdon and Oxford. It was a giant tree which was cut down later. But there is no evidence that the Tubney elm was used as a May-pole. On the first of May, young men and women assemble for the festivities with hawthorns collected earlier. As the day advances they indulge in music and dance. A huge pole will be erected on a plain and decorated with flowers. The dance will be around this May-pole. This traditional festivity is still kept in some parts of Oxfordshire and Berkshire.

6. Men who......thou wert gone. (Stanza 10, Line. 93-100)

      Here Arnold tells of the rumour that working men going for a bath in the river Thames have met the wandering Scholar.

      Hay makers, tired of a day's work, will move through breeze-swayed grass to the river Thames where black winged swallow birds abound. The hay-makers go there to take a bath near a dam. While bathing they have seen someone sitting on the busy bank of the river and recognized him to be the wandering scholar from his antique dress, dark dreamy eyes and thoughtful looks. But when they come out after bathing the scholar would have disappeared.

      The desire of the Scholar to remain alone is emphasized here. His unwillingness to meet people could be the reason why he disappears on their approach or perhaps Arnold wants to give the impression that it was the ghost of the 17th century Scholar that the bathers saw.

7. Children.....move slow away. (Stanza 11, Line. 105-110)

      Here Arnold describes the children of the locality sighting the elusive wanderer.

      Children who go around the slopes of Cumner hill in search of cress plant in pools have seen him watching all through the day enjoying watching the pasture-land and the grazing animals; as the stars start appearing in the evening he was seen to move away slowly.

      The Scholar is a lover of nature even like the poet. But surely there must be something mysterious in him if he remains all the day watching the animals grazing in the pasture.

      Cress is an aromatic water plant, the leaves of which are edible. Rills are small shallow pools.

8. In'd Thessaly (Stanza 12, Line. 111-115)

      Arnold describes how the Gipsies pitch their tents on the outskirts of Bagleywoods during the Autumn season.

      Mostly the gipsies pitch their tents on the grassland close to the Bagleywoods. Their tents are darkened by smoke. At that time almost every bush is seen beautiful with the red colour of the berries and the grey colour of the serrated leaves above the forest called Thessaly. Bagleywood is a real one a few kilometers to the South of Oxford. But Thessaly exists only in the fancy of the poet. Why he calls it Thessaly is not clear. Perhaps the shape of the ground is similar to Thessaly in Greece. Arnold was fond of Greek names as he was of Greek culture.

9. The blackbird......Heaven to fall. (Stanza 12, Line. 116-120)

      Arnold describes that the wandering scholar is so much part of the surroundings that the wild birds are not frightened away on his approach.

      As the Scholar Gipsy comes close to the blackbird which is picking the food the bride doesn't display any fear at his presence and continues with its meal. He is very much a familiar figure even for the birds, for often he passes through the place, wrapped in his own thoughts, twirling a withered twig in his hand, waiting for the hoped for devine inspiration.

      The word 'rapt' tells of the preoccupation of the scholar. Absorbed in this thoughts he is unaware of the surroundings. His indifference to the happenings of the external world is displayed through his twirling a dried up twig in his hand. Possibly he might have picked it up, too, unconsciously. The poet emphasizes the scholar's absorption in this thoughts by telling he is awaiting the "spark from Heaven'", the equivalent of Milton's "hallowed fire from God's altar" with which man's lips are purified. The scholar himself had told his two former university mates that it needs heaven sent moments" to fully master the lore of the Gipsies.

      These lines display the poet's own tender feelings for nature. His love of open countryside, its flora and fauna are to be found in the scholar. The picture of the scholar is that of a mild natured person, in love with nature, and forming a part of that nature.

10. And thou.....sequesterd grange. (Stanza 13, Line. 126-130)

      After describing many of the sightings of the wandering scholar by various countryfolks the poet fancies that he himself has met him once near the wooden bridge on the South Hinksey causeway.

      The poet has a hunch that he has seen the wandering scholar of Oxford, on a winter day, near the wooden bridge. The Scholar was wrapped up in his overcoat and battling with falling snow flakes, climbing up the slope of the Cunner Hill. He also remembers the scholar turning towards the Oxford University to watch the festive lights of Christ Church College. Afterwards he should have found his rest in some uninhabited old barn.

      The poet creates the impression that the scholar roams around the Oxford countryside even in winter. The wanderer's look at the festive lights at the Christ-Church Hall displays a sort of nostalgia for the place. Perhaps, he might had been a scholar of Christ Church College while he was at Oxford. He left Oxford be cause he couldn't find the means to continue his studies there. Oxford is a place where, ideally, people continue their quest for truth. He turned to the Gipsies because he could not continue the quest at Oxford.

      Christ Church Hall is the huge Hall at Christ Church College. Nathaniel Hawthorne, the American writer wrote about it: "the large and stately hall above a hundred feet long and forty wide and fifty to the top of its carved oaken roof which is ornamented with festoons, as it were, and pendents of solid timber. The walls are panelled with oak, perhaps half way upward and above are the arched windows on each side; but near the upper end two large windows come nearly to the floor. The lights of merry Christmas lit within would thus be visible far and wide".

      Arnold describes the Scholar's watching the Christmas lights. During that time snowfall often happens. From the top of Cumner hills one gets a good view of the University of Oxford end to end, a city rising from the midst of the valley. There is a striking contrast between the warmth of the brightly lit Chirst Church Hall and the Scholar battling with the snow finding his bed in a "sequestered grange".

11. No, no......we have been. (Stanza 15, Line. 141-150)

      After describing all the rumoured sightings of the Scholar, Arnold dismisses all those as mere fancy. The Scholar lived in the 17th century and he might be Iiving buried in some obscure village churchyard. Abruptly he changes his line of thought and says that the Scholar Gipsy is immortal.

      Arnold refuses to believe that the Scholar is dead; passage of time will not affect him. Ordinary humans grow old and weak and die because, they spend their lives flitting from one desire to another changing aims and ambitions every now and then without a singleness of purpose. Possibly the word "rolls" brings in the metaphor of the rolling earth making night and days. Man in his continuous rolling comes across with alternating pleasure and pain: The repeated shocks of this change from pleasure to pain and back again exhausts man's freshness and he becomes 'numb' or inactive. Then, tired of the nervous strain, he submits himself to this guardian angel, ready for death. He remains where he had been in the beginning without any significant achievement.

      The just-pausing Genius: Ancient Roman religion thought that every human being at birth was allotted with a guardian spirit. That spirit decides his character, presides over his fortune and finally at death, leads him out of the world. The meaning of the line may be something as follws: The guardian spirit of man which pauses justly or delays long enough gives him an opportunity to utilise his powers before putting an end to his career.

      Arnold seems to say that ordinary man's life is fruitless. He flits his energy in changing aims, desires and business and get exhausted and die without achieving any significant goal.

12. Thou hast not......thy fire. (Stanza 16, Line. 151-155)

      After telling of the impossibility of the Scholar Gipsy still being alive Arnold in an abrupt change in the line of thinking tells that the Scholar is immortal. He cannot have perished because he has not lived in the way ordinary mortals live, without a purpose. But the Scholar has a rare singleness of aim, business and desire. If he too had exhausted himself in a worthless life without fixed aims, desires and action, he too would have been dead and gone, by the passage of time. Here Arnold juxtaposes the life of the Scholar with that of ordinary humans enabling us to see the Scholar's superiority over others. There is a paradox in telling that he should not perish because he has not lived.

      But the Scholar has lived his life - First at Oxford where he could not find a way of going up the ladders of worldly fortune; then along with Gipsies whose lore he wanted to learn. However it was not the life of the average human being. He lived with a fixity of purpose; to arrive at truth and to semanate it in the world. Arnold here emphasizes the need of living purposeful and useful life.

13. The generations......alas, have not. (Stanza 16, Line. 156-160)

      The poet, resting in the nook bowered from the August sun, falls into a reverie and feels that the 17th century Scholar who left Oxford to join a gipsy flock is immortal. Arnold and his 19th century contemporaries will die and leave the world just as the Scholar's contemporaries in the 17th century have left this world. But he will live for ever as his story lives in the pages of Glanvil's book. He lives because he has something in him which Arnold and his generation do not possess; the singleness of aim, business and desire. That fixity of purpose makes him immortal. Those who do not possess that perish.

      Arnold here makes use of a convention in elegiac poetry. The elegy writer after lamenting the physical death of his friend would bring out the immortal qualities he possessed. The elegy always ends with a note of hope that the subject of lamentation is not really dead, but is alive. Arnold very ably makes use of this convention and establishes that the Scholar Gipsy will live forever.

14. For thee in hope (Stanza 17, Line. 161-170)

      After telling that the Scholar Gipsy is immortal Arnold gives a detailed contrast between the life of the immortal scholar and the ordinary mortal humans.

      He left the work-a-day world of men at an early age, when his attention was not diverted by distracting desires and ambitions of ordinary men. He had kept his steadfastness of purpose, his single-minded pursuit of deeper knowledge, without yielding himself to weariness and vacillations. The 'sick fatigue' and languid doubts' of the Victorian period had not affected him. He had lead a life very unlike that of the poet and his generation.

      The Victorians waver without a fixed area of movement and aim. Each of them strives but do not know what they are striving for. Each one may be said to have a hundred different lives. They also wait like the Sholar Gipsy for the divine inspiration to improve their lot. But while the Scholar awaits with unflinching hope, the Victorians do not have anything similar.

      The passage illustrates how Matthew Arnold lamented the aimlessness of modern life, of feverish fret and sick hurry. Arnold fought a continuous war against 'philistinism' which is another word for the worthless life people lead. In this eagerness to inject a spirituality, a purposefulness to life, he idolizes the Scholar Gipsy who left the University of Oxford in search of deeper truth and patiently waited for the heaven sent moments to realize truth.

      Each half: Arnold possibly is thinking of the half-hearted way in which man works. Or he may be thinking of the split personality arising out of confused aims and desires.

15. Thou waitest.....avait it too. (Stanza 18, Line. 171-180)

      Here Arnold continues in the same line of thought as in the previous stanza. We get a detailed contrast between the life of the Scholar and life during Arnold's times. The Scholar Gipsy is waiting for the spark of heaven to get a full understanding of deep truths. He believes that divine grace will descend upon anyone who putsues a worthy goal with a fixity of purpose. But how different are the people of the poet's age the poet wonders. They do not sincerely believe the creeds into which they were born. It was an accident that they happened to be born into families with certain beliefs. So they remain only half believers. They do not have conviction in their belief. They are never strongly moved by the serious problems of life; neither do they have the strong will to do anything to solve those problems of life. They never had the right vision into the depth of matters. As a result their actions do not bring forth results. Their resolutions being vague are not carried out. Every year they attempt something new but fail in the attempts and always remain disappointed. Undecided of firm action they throw away life. One day they make some progress but the next day that is lost in failure. Despite all these they too wait for results, for achievements.

16. ....and amongst us.....varied anodynes. (Stanza 19, Line. 182-190)

      Here Arnold says that life during Victorian age is wretched and miserable and the spark of hope is dying. Even the best amongst them are disillusioned.

      The one who is generally considered a great thinker, has suffered much in life. Unable to get any spiritual light he indulges into intellectual activities with a feeling of hopelessness. He places before others the sad experiences of his wretched life. He tells of the birth and growth of misery in him and describes how he tried to keep up the spark of life alive and how he tried by various methods to lessen his troubles, both of the heart and of the mind.

      Amongst us One: Arnold appears to be referring to some particular contemporary of his. The capital 'O' in the first edition of the poem gives credence to this view. Moles and Moon say, on the authority of a correspondent in Notes and Queries, that the reference is Tennyson "who, shortly before the year in which The Scholar Gipsy was published, had succeeded Wordsworth as Poet Laureate and has commemorated his friend Arthur Hallam in Ja Memoriam " But Arnold didn't have enough appreciation of Tennyson's intellectual powers to visualize him seated "upon the intellectual throne". Comparing Wordsworth, Shelley and Byron Arnold wrote: "Tennyson's is a far inferior natural power to either of the three" Again he wrote to his sister in 1860, "The real truth is that Tennyson with all his temperament and artistical skill is deficient in intellectual power".

      During a visit to the United States in 1883-1884 Arnold himself declared that the reference is to Goethe. But Goethe could not have been dejected for Arnold in Memorial Verses calls him "physician of the iron age".

      Some critics suggest that Carlyle is the person mentioned. By the time The Scholar Gipsy was published Carlyle had risen to literary eminence. His life had been wretched and miserable and he knew no peace of mind. In Sartor Resartus he lays bare his sad experience. He tried one remedy after another, including hero worship to lessen his misery. Further Arnold had a high esteem of Carlyle. So the probability of the "One" being Carlyle is significant.

17. O born in.....thy solitude. (Stanza 21 Line. 201-210)

      In this stanza, Arnold, who is enchanted by the fresh and clear life of the Scholar Gipsy, advises him to avoid any contact with the sickly ordinary men and run away from them.

      The Scholar was born at a time when men had fresher spirits and clearer vision. Life flowed as sparklingly as the river Thames. The present day diseases of sick hurry, divided aims, overtaxed brain and paralyzed hearts did not exist at that time. The Scholar should be wary of getting infected by the modern diseases. He should avoid all contacts with modern men and run away from them and go farther into deeper wood. If at all they go near him, he should sternly turn them away, even like Dido turned away the pursuing Aeneas from Hades.

      Dido: On the destruction of Troy by the Greeks, Aeneas, a Trojan Prince, escaped and set sail for Italy. On the way, he reached Carthage where Queen Dido fell in love with him. They lived happily together, for a time but later he left her and went away to the disappointment of Dido who committed suicide. Later Aeneas reached Hades (Nether worlds where the spirits of the dead live). Aeneas offered her his love but the proud Dido turned him away because he had betrayed her in the upper world.

      True to his declared classicism Arnold brings in images from classical mythology into his poem along with classical stories.

18. Thy ours (Stanza 23, Line. 226-230)

      Arnold who is unhappy with the state of modern men and their diseased life asks the Scholar Gipsy to avoid all contacts with modern men lest he be infected with their disease. Or he too will degenerate into their condition, he warns.

      If he catches the infection from modern men his hopes will become shaky. his power will decay, and his clear and fixed aims will become contradictory to each other and become wavering. Then his perpetual youth will give way to old age and like others of the poet's age will face death.

19. Then fly......corded bales. (Stanzas 24, 25, Line. 231-250)

      Arnold ends up this poem with a Homeric simile, that extends over 19 lines. alluding to ancient history of the trade rivalry between the Phoenicians and the Greeks. The scholar should flee from the presence of the modern men just like the Tyrian traders (Phoenician) of olden time fled from their traditional trading grounds when the newly arrived Greek traders encroached upon them. The Tyrian trader one morning discovered that a smart Greekship with sensuous items of cargo had arrived at one of the islands, in the traditionally Phoenician trade-stronghold.

      Yielding their lucrative trading area to the young light hearted masters of the waves they went away westwards. They crossed the Mediterranean, went beyond the strait of Gibralter and started trading with the Spainards.

      It is history that the Phoenicians were the unrivalled masters of sea-borne trade of the ancient world. But as the Greeks developed their maritime activity they became potential rivals to the Phoenicians. The latter, noticed the advantages the former enjoyed and withdrew from their traditional trading arca and went west-wards. Later Greeks developed strong trade relations in the eastern Mediterranean while the Phoenicians dominated the western area including the Atlantic coast of Iberian Peninsula. The word 'stealthily' in L. 234 hints that the Greeks began their trade in the traditional Phoenician area clandestinely.

Aegean Isles: are islands in the Aegean sea, once the lucrative trading area of the Phoenicians.

Grecian Coaster: When the trade competition started, Greeks had only small ships that moved not far from the coast while the better manned and the generous sized Phoenician ships sailed even in the high seas.

Amber Grapes: red-yellow grapes.

Chian Wine: wine from the island of Chios which was well famous.

Bursting Figs: lushy fig fruit.

Tunny: The Mediterranean tuna fish.

Steeped in Brine: Brine is strong salt solution. The fish will be first kept in concentrated salt solution and then dried.

Syrtes: Two sand banks on the coast of Africa, south of Sicily. Two gulfs on the African coasts also were known by the same name. Now they are known as Gulf of Sydra and Gulf of Gabes.

Soft Sicily: Sicily has a mild climate.

Shy Trafickers: The Spainards were not too happy to trade with the Phoenians in the beginning.

Dark Iberians: People of the Iberian peninsula (Portugal and Spain) are darker than Europeans of northern countries.

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