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Solitary Reaper, The Analysis



Author: Poetry of William Wordsworth Type: Poetry Views: 6840





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 chaunt

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?

Some 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;

I saw her singing at her work,

And o'er the sickle bending;--

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.





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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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n the poem the Solitary Reaper, the narrator says will no one tell me what she sings,why does he ask this question?
Please give me a long answer proper reply.

| Posted on 2013-04-13 | by a guest


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In the Solitary Reaper, the singing voice is only in he\'s. A few lines in the poem proves this (line 1, 2, 3, 5,9, 13,17, 27 and 33) She is in the fields by herself, no one can hear her sing. \"no nightingale did ever chaunt\", \"a voice so thrilling ne\'er was heard\", \"will no one tell me what she sings?\", these are some written evidence. The voice in this man\'s head was inspired from something he saw long ago. This poem demonstrates how inspiration is endless; it can even be heard \"among the farthest Hebrides\" (Hebrides are some islands at the coast of Ireland). HE first got inspiration from a woman cutting wheat in the fields and still till this day, as the music in his heart bores \"long after it was heard no more\"

| Posted on 2012-03-13 | by a guest


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william wordsworth has written the poem nicely.
he has described about the reaper and the place beautifully.

| Posted on 2011-09-15 | by a guest


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I AM RAINA... it is an excellent poem by W.Wordsworth. and also i like this poem very much.

| Posted on 2011-07-24 | by a guest


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I AM RAINA... it is an excellent poem by W.Wordsworth. and also i like this poem very much.

| Posted on 2011-07-24 | by a guest


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this poem once read cannot b forgotten.such beautiful n a sensible poem written by wordsworth.all the scenes can b imagined in our minds.the lonliness of the poet can be felt.

| Posted on 2011-07-20 | by a guest


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i love the poem for the way it is written... as i read it, i could easily imagine (or became) one of the listeners of the girl\'s poem... i felt as though i had gone to scotland myself and listened to it... i really appreciate wordsworth\'s imagination and poetry skills....

| Posted on 2011-06-18 | by a guest


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i think that this is a poem for the nature who herself always alone and sing asong that neves knows

| Posted on 2011-06-13 | by a guest


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Amazing how many people say they understand the poem, but fail to realize it\'s dual meaning.
\"Maiden\" is a Scottish execution device. Like a guillotine.
This poem is about an execution scene. There are numerous references to it throughout the poem.

| Posted on 2011-06-06 | by a guest


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the loneliness of the reaper is meaningful.
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Her loneliness gives freedom and naturalness to her movement and expression. Because of the absence of artificiality, her song and the girl herself became the part of nature.

| Posted on 2011-03-24 | by a guest


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This is a beautiful poem
i can understand it, i am only 9 though

| Posted on 2011-02-20 | by a guest


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\"The Solitary Reaper\" is a delightful lyric by William Wordsworth. Wordsworth is known as a great lover and preacher of nature. He impresses us by the imaginative and philosophical quality of his thoughts.
This poem is a result of his visit to Scotland where he came across a lovely maiden in the fields all alone. Her lovely person and her sweet song had a deep impression on the poet and moved him to compose these verses. The lovely singer appeared to be a part of that beautiful scene of nature.
A highland girl was reaping grain in the field and singing a song at the same time. The poet did not understand the contents of the song as it was in a foreign language. He guessed that it was the tale of old and tragic events of the past. It could also be an account of some recent calamity or mishap. Whatever the theme of the song, it was sung in a beautiful, rich voice. The song seemed to be endless. The poet was bewitched by the thrilling notes of the lonely reaper. The whole valley was ringing with her silvery sound. Even the spring bird Cuckoo could not produce such a magical effect as the maiden\'s song cost on the poet.
The poet stood still and listened to that golden voice for some time. After words, when he was climbing the hill he could not hear that song any longer. But he was still feeling the sweet vibrations of that music in his heart. The sweet memory of that song had become a permanent source of joy.

| Posted on 2010-12-22 | by a guest


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I think that wordsowth in this poem tries to translate the girls\' song INto words . He had that ability to transfare music into words and the poem is uniqe .It is like magic .

| Posted on 2010-11-28 | by a guest


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I was deeply moved while reading it... Wordsworth had transferred music into words, which holds still the same emotion. Though he listened and we read, we share the same kind of feeling. I am grateful to the change he offered in poetry style, to express the common life and the essential passions of heart.
M.J.O

| Posted on 2010-11-05 | by a guest


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A very interesting poem indeed....anyone can understand the meaning of it...even me....im only 13.A useful lot of comments.thanx

| Posted on 2010-10-17 | by a guest


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this is an excellent poem expressing sorrow..There are somethings in life which you love so much but you cannot do anything to retain it or get closer to it.. if you did u will just ruin it.... instead you should just experience it the way it is...realize u cannot do anything about it...walk away from it.. die slowly as it fades.... and curse the god for doing this to you...

| Posted on 2010-10-05 | by a guest


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i loved the poem so much that i just want it to know more about it.the scenes and images described r awesome.
wordsworth is really great
by the way,will anyone say me what \'romantic era\'means.iam a bit confused.

| Posted on 2010-09-21 | by a guest


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i feel that the poet was in a depressed mood. he was just taking a refreshing walk when he heard a beautiful song being sung. he saw that a lady cutting crops was singing the song. he felt it very heart raising. he enjoyed the song very much and listened to it word by word. he compared the pitch in which she was singing to that of a nightingale\'s. the words \"PLAINTIVE NUMBERS\" used by the poet states that she was singing to get rid of her depressed mood. he tells the wandering nomads to stop and listen to her song or to pass by gently. this is because the poet wants to listen to the beautiful song undisturbed.

| Posted on 2010-09-20 | by a guest


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i feel that the poet is not in a good mood and was just having a refreshing walk. when he hears a spirit raising voice he sees the words coming from the lady cutting crops. he is so dumbstruck that he enjoys the song completely word by word. he compares the song sung to that of a nightingale. he thinks that she is singing in , \"PLAINTIVE NUMBERS\" because of her sorrow. he even wants the nomads to just stop and listen or to move away without a noise, so that the poet can listen to her song undisturbed

| Posted on 2010-09-20 | by a guest


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Wordsworth doesn\'t know the languange and can\'t figure out what she is singing about-\"Will no one tell me what she sings?--\"
Still, his curiosity of the matter with the song is followed up in next few lines.
Languages are not any barriors in emotions, the human nature of \"destruction\" is. This poem shows that nature doesn\'t have language, yet it strikes a chord with our hearts.\"/The music in my heart I bore,/Long after it was heard no more.\"
Sine V.

| Posted on 2010-09-03 | by a guest


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Wordsworth doesn\'t know the languange and can\'t figure out what she is singing about-\"Will no one tell me what she sings?--\"
Still, his curiosity of the matter with the song is followed up in next few lines.
Languages are not any barriors in emotions, the human nature of \"destruction\" is. This poem shows that nature doesn\'t have language, yet it strikes a chord with our hearts.\"/The music in my heart I bore,/Long after it was heard no more.\"

| Posted on 2010-09-03 | by a guest


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IT IS A NICE POEM BY WILLAM WORDSWORTH.AFTER READING THIS POEM I WROTE THE REVIEW OF THIS POEM IN MY DIARY.

| Posted on 2010-08-29 | by a guest


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this poem is a beautiful one as if it is trying to discribe nature with a n idea of a lonely girl singing alone harvesting and was sining about her past and as the poet was passing from there. As he HEARD THIS SONG OF THE YOUNG LADY HE WAS SPELL BOUND AND DUMB FOUND AS THIS SONG WAS MIWED IN HIS SOUL

| Posted on 2010-08-19 | by a guest


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I agree with the Phd major. I never looked at the poem in that way, but now I see the many connections. The passion that Wordsworth felt towards his sister is an example of undying love. Through my research as a poetic analyser I have dicovered that Wordsworth and Dorothy his sister even conceived a child. Its Just so amazing that Wordsworth had the strength to pressue his relationship with his little sister. I regard this poem highly and hope one day I will find love.
Judy Moore (Poetic Advice agent for the Universty of Croatia)

| Posted on 2010-08-03 | by a guest


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Wow what a great poem although the concept of the poem is quite strange. Most people think the poem is about wordswoth lighening to some women sing, but the poem has more depth to that. THe poem was composed after a trip to the highlands where Wordsworth sister accompined him. The poem has a lot of sexual tention between Wordsworth and his sister. This conveys an inssetuous relationship. Where Wordsworth fanticise to much love to hs siter. However the imgery of the voice of the Highland lass links to the deep pleasure while Wordsworth and his sister made love.
By Phd major in Romantic poetry

| Posted on 2010-07-26 | by a guest


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ilove this poem very much because my ALBERT THAMBI SIR taught me this poem such a manner

| Posted on 2010-07-25 | by a guest


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This is a poem wriiten by wordsworth that influenced the mind of others. It is more than a poem and the poet tells us that every one has there on way to reduces there sorrow.In the poem the girl is lonelly She Escapes fron that by singing.

| Posted on 2010-07-16 | by a guest


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It is hard to believe how can one be so involve with nature.The word 'solitary' simply means loneliness, sense of absence,limited, individualism, independence, self-reliance, cold and a tensed atmosphere. It reinforces the aspect of individuality. The Reaper challenges a patriarchy whereby she usurps and controls the male place as in a way being a girl, she has taken up the male's responsibility and the task of harvesting.

| Posted on 2010-06-25 | by a guest


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for me this poem is a good example for the romantic poetry,as we can see that it contains many of the romantic characteristics as union with nature,loneless,simplicity .jiji

| Posted on 2010-06-11 | by a guest


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The Solitary Reaper is a classic example of a poem from the romantic era written by William Wordsworth. It’s about how a man, most probably Wordsworth is affected by a song being sung by this woman. The song of the young girl reaping in the fields is incomprehensible to him a "Highland lass," she is likely singing in Scots, and what he appreciates is its tone, its expressive beauty, and the mood it creates within him, rather than its explicit content, at which he can only guess.
Already from the beginning we can see patterns which are common to the romantic poets such as the title. “ The Solitary Reaper” The romanticists usually focus on the individual itself furthermore it is common for the poems to be about one person alone in this instance the person is “Solitary…” The author further emphasises the fact that she is alone in the first stanza “Behold her, single…” and “…singing by herself” All through the poem we never find out who this person who is singing actually is, the author doesn’t tells us anything about her this might be because this bares little importance. In addition we also see this idea of the poet being an individual in the last stanza when he says “I listen’d till I had my fill” He is using the first person of the singular which conveys the idea that the poet himself is the person listening to the song. The woman is perceived to be as one with nature through both the singing and the working. “Alone she cuts and binds the grain And sings a melancholy strain…” It seems as if she is in harmony with the nature which again is common throughout the romantics as they sought wilderness and nature to be very important. At the end of the first stanza we can see Wordsworth describing the sound as if it were a liquid “Is overflowing with the sound.” this is repeated again in the last stanza “…till I had my fill.” The song is portrayed to be a liquid which is filling up both the valley where it is being sang and the poet himself like a container that needs to be filled up. Wordsworth makes several references to various historical locations and events some including "Travellers...Among Arabian Sands," "battles long ago," and "the silence of the seas among the farthest Hebrides." The girl's act of reaping and cultivating the land links the past with the future the land that supported her elders will continue to support the future land inhabitants. The author chooses to describe the sweetness of the song by comparing it to the singing of birds. “No Nightingale did ever chaunt…” and “…from the cuckoo-bird” The fact that he chooses to compare the singing of the lady to the singing of birds demonstrates how he feels about the song and how he thinks its beautiful. More over Wordsworth gives instructions throughout the first stanza. “Stop here” “gently pass” “O listen” In a way this shows the poets lack of contact with the woman and the fact that he does not want her to stop singing. The author also refers to different times, the past “And battles long ago.” and the present “Familiar matter of to-day?” We can see this in the third stanza which is based around time, he’s trying to figure out what the song is about and doesn’t know if its about the past or the present.
The poem's structure is simple--the first stanza sets the scene, the second offers two bird comparisons for the music, the third wonders about the content of the songs, and the fourth describes the effect of the songs on the speaker--and its language is natural an

| Posted on 2010-06-08 | by a guest


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The Solitary Reaper is a lyrical ballad which combines lyrical feelings and careful artistry with the techniques and relative objectivity of the ballads

| Posted on 2010-04-06 | by a guest


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I studied this poem at the time i was in SSCL. My english master taught this poem in such a beautiful mannar. Whenever I feel lonliness I just collect the memories of that poem class. Really a fentastic one by Wordsworth also my class teacher. Thanks.

| Posted on 2010-03-24 | by a guest


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Wordsworth was one of the finest poet of nature and love which was shown brilliantly in this poem. I have enjoyed it much because I know beauty lies on the eyes of beholder. When I read it,the whole picture was floating infront of my eyes.
Gopal Dhar.


| Posted on 2010-03-22 | by a guest


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Wordsworth was one of the finest poet of nature and love which was shown brilliantly in this poem. I have enjoyed it much because I know beauty lies on the eyes of beholder. When I read it,the whole picture was floating infront of my eyes.
Gopal Dhar.


| Posted on 2010-03-22 | by a guest


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For me, notions of simplicity, virtue and awe are central to this poem; lending it strong tones of spirituality:
The singer is a 'maiden' and is set in a hermit-like environment. She is alone [an idea emphasised three times]; working hard at a simple task and unaffected by the world around her. This is to the extent that the observer is tempted to 'gently pass' - as if out of reverence. Similarly, although drawn to stay, he opts to remain 'motionless and still'. He and the girl might as well be in a church or monastry.
Although the singer is isolated from the world, she nevertheless has a 'profound' effect upon it. It might well be significant that she is a 'reaper' since this has strong religious connotations in terms of 'gathering in the harvest'.
Her influence is both mysterious and awe-inspiring: We do not know what she is singing about; any more that the song of the cuckoo or nightingale are understood.

But this is unimportant: It is the beauty of the tones and notes that are awe-inspiring: They are universal and so capable of transporting the listener to far-flung places.
The notes are plaintive, thrilling and [again] there is an eternal quality - her songs 'have no ending'.
The listener is on a journey and so cannot stay. But there is a hint that the journey of life is likewise involved [insofar as he refers to a later time ['long after'].
The meanings of the songs sung by this solitary reaper, although unfathomable, are equally applicable to the past, present and future ['...and may be again' + 'long after'] and, moreover, the themes are relevant to everday life [of 'a more humble lay'].
It is also implied that, ['whate'er'] the themes involved, they [and the singer] have healing qualities for natural sorrows and feelings of loss and pain. Again; strong religious connotations.
Equally, it may be significant that the poet makes such suppositions: Perhaps he, himself, is prone to melancholy. However, to make this connection, it is necessary to jump to another poem where Wordsworth mentions that he sometimes finds himself in a 'pensive mood'.
Overall, what we are left with is a simple girl doing a simple task and singing beautiful songs - totally unaware of the impact she has on the world and those within it.
She is bringing in the harvest; but has also harvested a soul.
Echoing the uncomplicated nature of what is going on in the scene, Wordsworth also keeps things simple and easily accessible.
For me, the most significant line is ...'I listened, motionless and still;'
This stresses the impact and power of the unfolding scene: It stopped the listener in his tracks.
The poem belongs to another era. But in a time of celebrity, hype and impatience, the poem celebrates the beauty of simplicity. We too are stopped in our tracks and find ourselves listening.
A. Skelton

| Posted on 2009-12-14 | by a guest


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i got a line from this poem in a spam email just this morning....very odd that the spammer used this poem in spam email.
"Among the farthest Hebrides"

| Posted on 2009-12-01 | by a guest


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this like an evergreen poem. There are so many new interpretations of the poem, which one is the best? And answereing to the post on the 2005-10-18, i think that she was not aware of him, because then why would he say that 'stop here, or gently pass'?

| Posted on 2009-11-29 | by a guest


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by the first post i have read may i remind you that it is a william wordsworth's poem and not shakespear....

| Posted on 2009-11-07 | by a guest


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this poem shows shakespeare's love for nature. he proved that he is a natural poet indeed. here he talks about an innocent girl who is singing alone. her song presents a kind of sadness. it looks as she is singing her own story. her voice has affected him so much that he is mad o flistening of her again and again. he is so impressed by her voice that he starts running after the voice. he does not want to disturb her also. he listens her pleasent voice for some time but it disappears soon. he tries to find th egirl but all in vain. so this poem is the best poem i have ever read in literature.

| Posted on 2009-11-05 | by a guest


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Interestig analysis posted by "a guest" on 8-09-18. I am now reading the poem from a new perspective. I always thought that the poet did not know the singer at all-- just someone working alone and singing by herself. The poet was so impressed with her song that he did not want to disturb her. The memory of her is linked with her music in his heart and it is clear that the message of the music is sadness-- so there might be something to the loneliness and the lovers never meeting interpretation.

| Posted on 2009-10-27 | by a guest




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