The Solitary Reaper
English Poems Index
The Solitary Reaper :
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts, and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain:
O listen! for the vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
No nightingale did ever chant
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt.
Among Arabian sands;
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the cuckoo-bird.
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.
Will no one tell me what she sings?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Same natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
that has been, and may be again?
Whate'er the theme, the maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
1 saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;
I listen'd, motionless and still
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The Music in my heart 1 bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
By William Wordsworth
About The Poet :
William Wordsworth was born on 7th April 1770, in Cockermouth in the Lake District : England. When many poets still wrote about ancient heroes in grandiloquent style, Wordsworth focused on nature, children, the poor, common people and used ordinary words to express his feelings. He defined poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" arising from "emotion recollected in tranquillity". He died at Rydal Mount on April 23, 1850.
Words to Know :
Highland Lass : a girl who lives in the highlands (mountain regions) of Scotland
Reaping : cutting down and gathering a crop such as com or rice
Melancholy strain : sad song
Vale profound : deep valley
Arabian Sands : the deserts of Arabia (the Middle East)
Farthest Hehrides : the most remote group of islands that lie to the north-west of Scotland
Plaintive : numbers: sad music
Humble lay : ordinary song
Sickle : a tool for cutting grass and grain crops. It has a short handle and a blade shaped like a hook.
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