A Textual Explication of Rabindranath Tagore’s 50th poem

Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali (New Delhi: MAHAVEER PUBLISHERS), 69.

A Textual Explication of Rabindranath Tagore’s 50th poem

But how great my surprise when at the day’s end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a least little gram of gold among the poor heap. I bitterly wept and wished that I had had the heart to give thee my all.

           In this Textual Explication of Rabindranath Tagore’s 50th poem, we’ll be discovering how a beggar and a king are like in terms of their attitude. The given excerpt from the 50th poem of Rabindranath Tagore, Nobel Prize Winning collection of poetry, Gitanjali, looks, in no way, like poetry, for it tells a linear story in a paragraph-like stanza, the use of language is very much poetic though. It describes a beggar who is surprised not to find any dust of gold among a heap of dust he has collected, and who weeps over the fact that he could not give all his possession to the begging king.

A Textual Explication of Rabindranath Tagore's 50th poem

            The beggar in Tagore’s 50th poem sounds surprised in the first sentence and he immediately feels guilty. This change in his feelings, initially, might sound perplexing to some readers. His activity of looking for gold in a heap indicates that a golden vehicle must have passed by so that he gathers dust, expecting to find golden dust which he would sort out. Moreover, who would ride a golden vehicle except for a king? He calls the heap “poor” because it does not contain any gold. In place of “day’s end”, he could have said, “at dusk” or “in the evening,” but the word ‘end’ is deliberately used for a negative connotation regarding the beggar’s life. The heap which is worthless can be compared with his life. The second sentence shows the tenderness of the beggar’s heart, for he pities the king more than himself. The connotation of this stanza can be: wealth teaches you meanness, and poverty teaches you kindness.

             From the king, on one hand, we get to learn that wealth teaches us meanness. In spite of being rich, he gives nothing to the real beggar. He already has a golden vehicle to ride and why would he want anything from the beggar? It is like the more you achieve, the more you desire. What would he have expected from the beggar? The king must be too cunning so that he keeps on adding up to his property. Moreover, he does not drop the even smallest piece of what he has, let alone kindly helping the beggar. His intention might be exposing the beggar to nakedness and consequently murdering him.

The conclusion of textual explication of Rabindranath Tagore’s 50th poem.

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            This textual explication of Rabindranath Tagore’s 50th poem, on the other hand, the beggar teaches us kindness. The job of a beggar is nothing but begging. There is no guarantee whether he gets his basic needs fulfilled on a daily basis. Due to this, he undergoes unpreventable difficulties and in difficulty is when one can learn the meaning of humanity. He must have suffered starvation but that has made him more emotional, sensitive and loving. He tries hardest to please the king, but later on, he regrets that he could not offer all he had. The king, definitely, is rich but he never becomes as happy as the beggar. For the king, whatever the beggar has given him might not be of much significance, but for the beggar, the same thing has a huge value. The beggar’s happiness is embedded in others’, particularly the king’s, happiness.

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