Porus and His Elephant

Meaning of Important Words

Ballad: a story told in verse

Foe: enemy

Battle pride : martial glory

In state : in a dignified manner

Unbroken rank : close order that is difficult for the enemy to breakthrough

Fray : attack

Rage : anger

Betide : to happen

Gallant : brave

Trumpet : (of a large animal, especially an elephant) to produce a loud call

Foreman: thee first or chief soldier in the army

Hold at bay: keep back

Pant : to breathe heavily

Legend : a story or set of stories from ancient times

e’er : contracted form of ever

Summary of Porus and His Elephant

The poem “Porus and His Elephant” is a lyrical ballad. It is written by Mary Dobson. The poem narrates a legend about a king named Porus and his faithful elephant. Porus is confronted with his enemy Alexander. They fought a fierce battle. Porus was fighting bravely on his elephant. But suddenly Porus got injured and fell down from his elephant. The faithful elephant came to his rescue. The elephant did not allow the enemy to come near Porus. Then the elephant took his master to safety. In this endeavor, the elephant received several wounds. Porus survived but his faithful elephant succumbed to his wounds/injuries. The beasts who are dumb also have feelings as proved by the elephant.

The poet wants to convey that these animals may seem dumb to us but even they can love and show their feelings by crying and panting. King Porus was saved but his elephant died from his wound. This story of animal faithfulness and bravery became a legend for the people to remember.

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Thinking about the poem | Questions

Q.1 How did the elephant save the life of Porus?

Ans. During the fierce battle between the armies of Porus and Alexander, Porus was wounded. When the wounded Porus fell down, his elephant provided him cover from the shower of arrows, spears, and swords. The elephant lifted Porus on his trunk and took him to safety. In this endeavor, the elephant received several wounds. The faithful elephant succumbed to his wounds, but his master survived.

Q.2 What does the poet mean by:

Ah! These dumb things that cry and pant,

They, too, can love, for God made them so.

Ans. In these lines the poet says that the beasts are unable to speak, but they too can feel pain and express their emotions. These creatures are also capable of loving because God also made them like that.

Q.3 Write the story told in the poem in your own words.

Ans. See the summary of the poem.

Q.4 What is the rhyme scheme of Porus and His Elephant?

Ans. abab

Q.5 The poem reflects the faithfulness of an elephant towards his master. Explain.

Ans. The elephant, in the poem, stands on the epitome of faithfulness and of exemplary courage. The elephant risks his own life only to be loyal to his master. It testifies his faithfulness by laying his precious life for keeping his master breathing.

Q. 6. Tick the right answer:

a. Porus met his enemy on the bank of a. The Nile b. The Jhelum c. The Ganges d. The Satluj .

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Ans. b. The Jhelum

b. Alexander in the poem is referred to as a. Friend b. Foe c. Brother d.Statesman

Ans. b. Foe

c. Who was wounded? a. Alexander b. Porus c. Both d. None

Ans. b. Porus

d. The wounded Porus is lifted by a. His own soldiers b. Soldiers of Alexander c. The Elephant d. None

Ans. c. The elephant

e. Who saves Porus? a. His Elephant b. His soldiers’ c. Both d. Villagers

Ans. a. His Elephant


I. Use the following words, phrases, and expressions in your sentences:

Days gone by, fray, to hold at a bay, battle-pride, fought the more, gallant part, mighty trunk


Days gone by: Days have gone by, since we met.

Fray: Alexander came to India for fray.

To hold at bay: Our soldiers hold at bay our enemies.

Battle-pride: Participation in the war was considered as battle-pride in olden times.

Fought the more: Porus fought the more against Alexander.

Gallant part: The elephant played a gallant part in the fight between Porus and Alexander.

Mighty trunk: The elephant lifted his master on his back with his mighty trunk to save him.

II. Use the following words as nouns and verbs in your sentences: Record, Present, Object, Contest, Produce

Ans. Record:

(Noun) I keep the record of my all expenditures.

(Verb) In Kashmir, the maximum temperature was recorded as 35ºC.


(Noun) He gave me a present on my birthday.

(Verb) The student presented himself before the headmaster.


(Noun) Do not touch an unclaimed object on the road.

(Verb) He was objected by people in his rude language.

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(Noun) A music contest was conducted at Radio Kashmir Srinagar on Saturday.

(Verb) He contested for writing an essay in English.


(Noun) This year he obtained a sufficient produce from his farm.

(Verb) A large quantity of paddy is produced in Kashmir.


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