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The Voice of the Rain | Walt Whitman | Class XI | English Core

Updated: Jan 29, 2022

Lesson Architecture

  • Theme

  • Line-Wise Explanation

  • NCERT Solution

  • Link for Questions for Practice

  • Poetic Devices

  • MCQ Worksheet


  • The rain has been personified in the poem in the form of a diaglogue.

  • The poem is the depiction of the life cycle of the rain.

  • The poem describes the rain as a natural phenomenon, which affects a sensitive human heart.

Line-Wise Explanation

Line 1-7

And who art thou? said I to the soft-falling shower,

Which, strange to tell, gave me an answer, as here translated:

I am the Poem of Earth, said the voice of the rain,

Eternal I rise impalpable out of the land and the

bottomless sea,

Upward to heaven, whence, vaguely form’d, altogether

changed, and yet the same,


  • Thou: you

  • Shower: rain fall.

  • Translated: in other words.

  • Eternal: everlasting

  • Impalpable: Not able to touch.

  • Bottomless: extremely deep.

  • Vaguely: indefinite, unclear.


  • The poet begins by asking the rain, ' Who are you?'

  • To his utter surprise he got a response, which is translated by the poet to the readers.

  • The rain replies that it is the lyrical composition of the earth.

  • It rises up in the sky from the deep sea unseen by anybody.

  • In the sky its shape is changed when it is converted into the cloud.

Line 8-14

I descend to lave the droughts, atomies, dust-layers of the globe,

And all that in them without me were seeds only, latent, unborn;

And forever, by day and night, I give back life to my

own origin,

And make pure and beautify it;


  • Descend: come down

  • Lave: wash

  • Atomies: tiny particles

  • Latent: inactive, not visible


  • The rain further says that it come down on earth in the form of rain to wash and cleanse the dry earth, its fine particles and dusty layers.

  • The rain refreshes the flora and fauna, entire vegetation of the earth and sprouts the hidden dormant seeds.

  • The rain continues the endless process of giving life to where it originated from.

  • The earth is washed, purified and beautified with shower dropped from the sky.

Line 15-17

For song, issuing from its birth-place, after fulfillment,

wandering Reck’d or unreck’d, duly with love returns.)


  • Issuing: originating

  • after fulfillment: after accomplishing its mission.

  • wandering: going from one place to another.

  • Reck’d or unreck’d: noticed or unnoticed


  • The poet compares the rain with song here.

  • The song of the rain originates from the earth, wanders to fulfill its desire to refresh people's mind and hearts irrespective of recognition.

  • It then comes back to the earth at the proper time, with love, regardless whether anyone notices its presence.

NCERT Solution:

Think it Out

1.There are two voices in the poem. Who do they belong to ? Which lines indicate this?

Ans: One voice belongs to the poet who speaks to us. The other voice is that of the rain that is heard by the poet.

The opening line of the poem 'And who art thou? said I to the soft-falling shower,'' indicates the poet's voice.

The third line of the poem 'I am the Poem of Earth, said the voice of the rain' indicates the second voice of the rain.

2. What does the phrase 'strange to tell' mean?

Ans: It refers to the surprising reply of the rain in response to the query of the poet about who it is. The poet finds it strange to describe what the rain said in reply.

3. There is a parallel between rain and music. Which words indicate this? Explain the similarity between the two.

Ans: Words like 'poem', 'soft-falling shower', 'voice of the rain' and 'song' indicate the parallelism drawn between music and rain.

Rain describes itself a lyrical composition of the earth having a melody of its own. The 'soft falling shower' has a musical rhythm. The poet concludes the poem by referring the rain as the song of the earth. The song wanders far and wide, but returns in due time, carrying with it a love for the earth and for every life.

4. How is the cyclic movement of rain bought out in the poem? Compare it with what you have learnt in science.

Ans: The rain rises from the land and deep sea in the form of water vapour . In the sky it cools down and takes the form of cloud vaguely formed and then comes down as showers to he same place where it had originated. Thus the cycle movement of the rain is complete.

5. Why are the last two lines put within brackets?

Ans: The last two lines are not the voice of the rain. They are the poet's statement on the music of the rain. The poet compares the rain as the song of the earth. It returns to earth regardless of any recognition in due time to its birth -place after completion of its course.

6. List the pairs of opposites found in the poem.

Ans: The pairs of opposites found in the poem are the following:

a) rise and descend

b) lave and drought

c) day and night

d) upward to heaven and the bottomless sea.

e) Reck'd and unreck'd.


1. PERSONIFICATION: “said the voice of the rain” Rain speaks throughout the poem.

2. ANTITHESIS: “All together changed, and yet the same”- two opposite ideas have been pulled together to describe the continuous cycle of rain.

3. METAPHOR: “I am the poem of the earth”.

Click Here for Practice of Extra Questions.



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