An unfolding of the symbolism in William Wordsworth’s
“A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal”
“A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal” written by William Wordsworth is an eight-line poem written on the topic of death. Usually any writing on the topic of death, whether it be a poem or an article from a newspaper, is written in a negative light, but “A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal” shows death in a positive light. The narrator, or mourner, of this poem although depressed with the death of his loved one, finds the positive aspects of his loss. We see the speaker's realization not only that this young woman has died, but also that bad things can happen in a beautiful world.
The poem is divided into two stanzas. In the first stanza the speaker is innocently unaware that age can touch the woman, but he is quickly taught a harsh lesson when she dies between the first and second stanzas. It is as if the death is hidden between the stanzas, which seems to imply that the speaker is unable to verbalize the pain that goes along with the sudden loss. The first line of the poem, confirms the fact that the woman is his spirit, and now his spirit is sealed in slumber, or in other words, dead. The poet’s choice of the word “seal” to describe the death suggests that even though she is dead she will always be sealed within is heart. The speaker seems to have built her up in his mind as a goddess, untouched by age and mortality. This desire to keep her untouched from “earthly years” (4) is a testament to the speaker's feelings for the young woman.
The speaker mentions that the woman is now without motion or force, which is true of all dead people, but the speaker may be suggesting that before her death she was full of life. In the last two lines the speaker describes the young woman as being “rolled round in earth’s diurnal course” (7) because she has become a part of the earth, rolling with it as the days pass. The very last line of the poem is especially interesting, because the speaker lists...
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