Reading Comprehension Quiz

[A new interlinear poem will be available each Monday: Weekly Interlinear Poem .]

Use the dictionary, the acronym finder, and the word origins dictionary (links above) as needed. A new quiz is available each Monday through Thursday. This is the quiz for January 26.

Selection from Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay "Self-Reliance"

Life only avails, not the having lived.
avails=has worth/usefulness/value
Power ceases in the instant of repose.
power=possession of qualities required to get something done
instant=particular moment

It resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state, in the shooting of a gulf, in the darting to an aim.
new state=the newness of existence as the present is replaced
shooting of a gulf=running a boat down a chasm

This one fact the world hates: that the soul becomes, for that forever degrades the past, turns all riches to poverty, all reputation to a shame, confounds the saint with the rogue, shoves Jesus and Judas equally aside.
soul=a person's ongoing nature (life)
degrades=reduces [to nothingness] (life only avails - those who have lived are equally dead)

Why then do we prate of self-reliance? Inasmuch as the soul is present there will be power not confident but agent.
prate=talk pointlessly
not confident but agent=not reposing but doing

To talk of reliance is a poor external way of speaking. Speak rather of that which relies, because it works and is. Who has more soul than I masters me, though he should not raise his finger. Round him I must revolve by the gravitation of spirits. Who has less I rule with like facility.
gravitation of spirits=the natural attraction between a seer and his/her disciples
We fancy it rhetoric when we speak of eminent virtue. We do not yet see that virtue is Height, and that a man or a company of men, plastic and permeable to principles, by the law of nature must overpower and ride all cities, nations, kings, rich men, poets who are not.
Height=risen into an outstanding/superior position
ride=hold the reins of
who are not=who are not plastic and permeable to principles

1. Moments of transition occur
A. occasionally.
B. continuously.
C. in the instant of repose.
D. when we are active.
2. Eminent virtue bestows
A. envy among its observors.
B. a lack of interest among its observers.
C. attractiveness upon its possessor.
D. a sense of equality upon its possessor.
3. Emerson looked upon dedication to the past as
A. essential to a person.
B. a waste of a person's power.
C. of great use.
D. worth giving one's life to.
4. "like facility" means
A. similar effortlessness.
B. similar influence.
C. similar force.
D. similar usefulness.

Write down your answers and then see Answer Key below.

Answer Key: 1-D..........2-C..........3-B..........4-A
Corrections? Questions? Comments? E-mail Robert Jackson at