(comprensione e produzione in lingua straniera)

The Hill

Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom and Charley,

The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, 1 the fighter?

All, all, are sleeping on the hill.

One passed in a fever,

5 One was burned in a mine,

One was killed in a brawl 2, 

One died in a jail,

One fell from a bridge toiling 3 for children and wife

All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

10 Where are Ella, Kate, Mag, Lizzie and Edith,

The tender heart, the simple soul, the loud, the proud, the happy one?

All, all, are sleeping on the hill.

One died in shameful child-birth,

One of a thwarted4love,

15 One at the hands of a brute in a brothel,5

One of a broken pride, in the search for hearts desire,

One after life in far-away London and Paris

Was brought to her little space by Ella and Kate and Mag

All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

20 Where are Uncle Isaac and Aunt Emily,

And old Towny Kincaid and Sevigne Houghton,

And Major Walker who had talked

With venerable men of the revolution?

All, all, are sleeping on the hill.

25 They brought them dead sons from the war,

And daughters whom life had crushed,

And their children fatherless, crying

All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where is old Fiddler 6Jones

30 Who played with life all his ninety years,

Braving 7the sleet8with bared breast,

Drinking, rioting, thinking neither of wife nor kin9,

Nor gold, nor love, nor heaven?

Lo!10  he babbles 11  of the fish-frys12 of long ago,

35 Of the horse-races of long ago at Clarys Grove,

Of what Abe Lincoln said

One time at Springfield.

(from E. L. Masters Spoon River Anthology” – The MacMillan Publishing Co. – 1942)


1  boozer : person who drinks alcoholic in large quantities

2 brawl: noisy quarrel, fight

3 toiling: working hard

4 thwarted: opposed

5 brothel: house where men pay to have sex

6 Fiddler: person who plays the violin

7 Braving: facing something without showing fear

8 sleet: snow mixed with rain

9 kin: ones family and relatives

10 Lo: look!

11 he babbles: he chatters in a confused way

12 fish-frys: a meal, as a picnic, featuring fried fish



– What do you think the Hill” is?

– Can you find common features in the lives, characters and death of the people named in the poem? Look

at the choice of language and at other rhetorical devices. Support your statements quoting from the text.

– What is the effect of the recurrent metaphor (all are sleeping”) at the end of almost every stanza?

– All the poem is built on repeated patterns. What effect do they produce? Refer to the text.

– Can you detect any deviation from this pattern?

– What does the use of tense suggest throughout the poem?

– Who does they” in line 25 refer to?

– How is the last stanza different from the others? Justify your answer.

– Explain the metaphor played with life” in line 30 and give a description of Old Fiddler Jones. What

makes him different from the other characters?

SUMMARIZE the content of the poem.

COMPOSITION: Make your own reflections on the feelings of life and death described in the poem.

You can refer to your own experience or to the experience of people you know.

Alternatively, choose one of the characters and write an imaginary story of his/her life.


Durata massima della prova: 6 ore.

È consentito l’uso dei dizionari monolingue e bilingue.

Non è consentito lasciare l’Istituto prima che siano trascorse 3 ore dalla dettatura del tema