The Poem The Miller of the Dee (by Charles Mackay)

The Poem: The Miller of the Dee (by Charles Mackay)
Explanation stanza-wise:
Stanza 1: There dwelt a miller, hale and bold,
Beside the River Dee;
He worked and sang from morn till night,........envies me"
Word meaning:
1.Dwelt: lived
2.Hale: healthy & strong
3. lark: a bird that sings
4.Blithe: very happy, showing you are not anxious about anything,
5. beside: near, by the side of
6. Miller: the person who owns a flour mill
7. the burden of the song: the theme of the song
Paraphrase: There lived a miller near a river called Dee. He was very happy and
had no worry about anything. He remained busy from morning to night in his work of
grinding grains for making flour. While working, he was habitual of singing songs for
his own amusement. He sang that he was not envious of anyone and the people
were also not envious of him. The poet also says that his song was more soothing
even than that of the sweet-singing bird lark.
Stanza 2: “Thou’rt wrong………..beside the river Dee.”
1. Gladly: happily
Paraphrase: Once a king named Hal happened to reach there. He told the miller
that he was absolutely wrong in what he sang about. The king was envious of the
miller's happiness. So he wished to exchange his own heart with that of the miller.
He wished to make his own heart free from tensions. The king’s heart has the load
of worries while the miller’s heart was light and free from worries of life.
After that the king asked to tell him the reason as to what made him sing so loudly
and as to how he could manage to feel free from worries of life. The king also
admitted that he was very much sad although he was a king.
Stanza 3.
“The miller smiled and smiled….,,,,,,,,,my babes and me.”
1. Doffed: took off the hat
2. Quoth: said
3.grinds: makes flour out of the corn/grain
The miller took off his cap from his head smilingly. He said that he worked to earn
his livelihood. He loved his wife and three children He also loved his friends. He did
not have any loan to pay. He further told the king that he was very thankful to the
river Dee that ran his floor-mill by the current of its water and made flour by crushing
the grains. Thus he fed his family.
Stanza 4.
“Good friend…….O miller of the Dee.”
In the end, the king took a long breath and bade the miller good bye giving him
blessings. He also advised him never to say that no one was envious of him. He
also added that his cap covered with flour was more valuable than his crown.
Similarly his floor-mill was more precious than his kingdom and England was proud
of such men like the miller, who were the backbones of a country.
The Miller of the Dee (Poem) Central Idea
The poem conveys the idea that the life of King is always full of anxieties and
worries; on the other hand the life of an honest work man is free from many desires
and wants. So he leads a care free between a king and an honest laborer.
The poem compares the life of a happy miller with that of a powerful King. The Miller
lived a happy life because he was an honest and hard working man. He loved his
wife and his children. His desires and his wants were limited. He was not jealous of
anybody. He used to sing happy songs. The King hall heard him singing with care
free voice. He asked him the reason of his happiness. The Miller told him that he
earned his living by working hard and had no debt to pay and that he was content
with what he had on the other hand the life of King Hall was full of worries. He
admitted that the Miller’s simple and happy life was far better than the life of a King.
Questions and Answers
Question #1 : Who are the speakers in this poem?
Answer : The Miller of the Dee and King Hall are the speakers in this poem.
Question #2 : Who is a Miller?
Answer : The miller is a person who runs a mill.
Question #3 : What was he singing about?
Answer : He was singing about his happy life and said that he was jealous of
nobody and nobody was jealous of him.
Question #4 : Why did the King say that he was wrong?
Answer : The Miller of the Dee was singing to the effect that he did not envy any
body and nobody envied him. The King Hall heard the song and told the Miller that
he was wrong because the King himself envied him. The King said, these words;
because his own life was full of anxieties and worries.
Question #5 : Who is the happier of the two, the Miller or the King? And
Answer : The Miller is happier between them. Because Miller had no worries and
led a happy life, on the other hand King’s life was full of worries and anxieties.
Question #6 : What did the King say to the Miller in the last stanza of the
Answer : The King said that England was proud of people like the Miller of the
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