The Deserted Village Questions and Answers
by Oliver Goldsmith

Start Your Free Trial

There are several references to "trains" in Oliver Goldsmith's poem "The Deserted Village." Do the uses of this word have anything in common?

Expert Answers info

Robert C. Evans eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write2,994 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Oliver Goldsmith uses the word “train” a number of times in his poem “The Deserted Village,” but he uses it in a sense that is unusual today.  The sense in which Goldsmith most often employs the word refers to a group of persons. The Oxford English Dictionary, in definition # 11 in its first discussion of “train” as a noun, gives Goldsmith’s probable meaning as “a set or class of persons,” and it indicates that this usage tends to appear in poetry.

The first reference to “train” in “The Deserted Village” appears in lines 17-18:

. . . all the village train, from labour free, 
Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree!

The word “train” here refers to the inhabitants of the village.  Later, in...

(The entire section contains 356 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

check Approved by eNotes Editorial