Iambic tetrameter lines run throughout the poem. An iamb is an unstressed syllable, followed by a stressed syllable. Tetrameter means four feet in a line. Reaping and singing by herself; Stop here, or gently pass! The poet, while travelling in the Highland valleys, comes across a lonely Highlander reaper girl who is harvesting the crops and singing by herself.
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Iambic tetrameter lines run throughout the poem. An iamb is an unstressed syllable, followed by a stressed syllable. Tetrameter means four feet in a line. Reaping and singing by herself; Stop here, or gently pass! The poet, while travelling in the Highland valleys, comes across a lonely Highlander reaper girl who is harvesting the crops and singing by herself. The poet urges them to stop there and listen to her song, or to pass by gently without disturbing her in her singing.
Alone she cuts and binds the grain, And sings a melancholy strain; O listen! The solitary reaper girl is cutting and binding the grain while singing a sad song. The poet again urges the other travellers to listen to her music, as it is overflowing the deep valley. The melodious note of a nightingale sounds sweet and welcoming to a tired group of travellers in some shady shelter in the middle of the Arabian desert.
But the song of the Highland girl is sweeter than that of the nightingale. Now the comparison shifts to the cuckoo, another well-known song bird. The cuckoo bird in springtime breaks the silence of the seas in the far-off Hebrides islands. But, according to the poet, the song of the solitary reaper is more thrilling than that of the cuckoo. Will no one tell me what she sings? From its tone, he guesses it to be a mournful song plaintive numbers about some old unhappy things and past battles.
Or is it some more humble lay, Familiar matter of to-day? Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain, That has been, and may be again? Wordsworth again guesses that the song might be about some more usual happenings like some natural sorrow, loss or pain, a death or a domestic day-to-day incident which has occurred or may happen again. Our poet saw her singing at her work bending over her scythe. The flow of her music was so impressive that it seemed to be never-ending. I listened, motionless and still; And, as I mounted up the hill, The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more.
Such was the impression of the song upon his mind. Sharing is caring!
William Wordsworth's The Solitary Reaper: Summary & Analysis
The poem functions to "praise the beauty of music and its fluid expressive beauty", the "spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility" that Wordsworth identified at the heart of poetry. The poet says that anyone passing by should either stop or gently pass as not to disturb her. There is a controversy however over the importance of the reaper along with Nature. Summary[ edit ] In this poem, the poet William Wordsworth tells us about a girl, a Highland lass, who is in a field alone: "single in the field". As she is harvesting her crops, she is singing a sad tune which echoes in the deep valley.
The Solitary Reaper Summary & Analysis by William Wordsworth
The Solitary Reaper