The Plate of Gold


Appreciation of the poem ‘The Plate of Gold’.

  1. Poem & Poet: ‘The Plate of Gold’ by James Henry Leigh Hunt.
  2. Theme: Service to mankind is service to God.
  3. Tone: A narrative and serious poem.
  4. Structure & stanzas: No uniformity in stanzas.
  5. Rhyme & Rhythm: Free verse. No rhyme scheme or rhythm.
  6. Language & imagery: Archaic language used. Plenty of imagery.
  7. Figure of speech: Inversion, Onomatopoeia, Simile & Repetition.

Name and explain the figure of speech:


a) ‘A wondrous plate of gold, whereon these words were writ’.

Ans: Alliteration: The sound ‘w’ gives greater poetic effect.

b) All stood aghast, when the hapless claimant dropt it clanging on the floor.
Ans: Onomatopoeia: The word clanging indicates sound.

c) ‘The news ran as swift as light’.
Ans: Simile: The running of news is directly compared to swiftness of light.

d) ‘The priests in solemn council sat and heard’.
Ans: Inversion: The correct prose order is- The priest sat and heard in solemn council.


Answer the following questions:


1. Who could claim the plate of gold?

Ans. One who loves others and all people around him the best could claim the plate of gold.

2. To whom did the priests gift the plate of gold?

Ans. The priests gifted the plate of gold to the man who was the largest lover of his race and who parted his whole estate to the poor within the year.

3. What magical occurrence shocked the people?

Ans. The priest gifted the golden plate to the man who parted the whole estate to the poor within the year. But when the man touched the golden plate, it turned into lead. This magical occurrence shocked the people.

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4. Why had many beggars collected outside the temple?

Ans. Many beggars collected outside the temple because many people who wanted to claim the plate started giving alms to the beggars.

5. Why did the pilgrims going to the temple, shower coins to the beggars?

Ans. One who loved all others the best could claim the plate of gold. So in order to claim the golden plate the pilgrims showered coins to the beggars.

6. What did they fail to do?

Ans. The pilgrims failed to see the poor sad eyes of the beggars.

7. What did the poor peasant offer the blind beggar?

Ans. The poor peasant saw the sightless face and trembling, maimed hands of blind beggar. He did not pass but kneeled and took both palms of the beggar in his hands and prayed. He prayed to God to help the man to bear all his troubles bravely.

8. Why had God chosen the simple peasant as the most deserving of the plate of gold?

Ans. God loves those who love and serve others. Service to others is the greatest human act. The peasant did not pass away on seeing the blind man. He took both palms of the beggar and prayed to God for him. He did it with a sincere heart without any selfish motive. So God chose the simple peasant as the most deserving of the plate of gold.

9. Where did the golden plate fall?

Ans. The golden plate fell in the great Benares’ temple-court.

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10. How did the news spread?

Ans. The news spread as swiftly as light.

11. Who was shunned by all?

Ans. A poor, sore, blind man was shunned by all.

12. Who finally received the golden plate?

Ans. The simple peasant finally received the golden plate.

13. Why had many beggars collected outside the temple?
Ans: Many beggars collected outside the temple to receive alms from the rich people.

14. What did the pilgrims fail to do?
Ans: The pilgrims failed to see the unhappiness in the eyes of the beggars.

15. What did the poor peasant offer the blind beggar?
Ans: The poor peasant offered the blind beggar sincere pity and love.

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