The Solitary Reaper

Topics: Poetry, Rhyme, William Wordsworth Pages: 5 (1167 words) Published: June 10, 2013
The Solitary Reaper
by William Wordsworth

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
ls 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?
What'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 listen 'd, motionless and still,
And as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart l bore,
Long after it was heard no more.




Appreciation of the The Solitary Reaper

1. Brief Introduction to William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth (1770-1850) is the outstanding representative of the English Romantic Poetry and the Lake Poets. To Wordsworth, poetry is primarily a mirror to reflect nature, and an imitation of human life. He sticks to his principle of spontaneity and simplicity in the literary work, and The Solitary Reaper is the typically pure and natural one of this Romantic kind.

2. Appreciation of The Solitary Reaper
This lyric is centered on a Highland girl who is reaping and singing by herself in the field. Totally attracted by the girl's beautiful and melancholy voice, the poet spontaneously pours out his true emotions for humble people and passionate love for nature. The Solitary Reaper is a poem written in simple language, but are endowed with deep meaning. The Solitary Reaper is a piece of lyrical ballad and iambic patterns which is naturally of the rhythmical quality.

2.1 Rhymes
For rhymes(尾韵), the poem contains four stanzas of eight verses each, and roughly four kinds of rhymes in each stanza. In the first four verses of each stanza, odd verses have a rhyme while even verses have another rhyme, that is, a b a b pattern (only with exception in verses 1 and 3, 25 and 27), and in the rest four verses, a different kind of rhyme c c d d is used. Generally speaking, this poem follows the rhyme scheme a b a b c c d d. Though verses 1 and 3, 25 and 27 do not rigidly obey the rhyme scheme, "field' and "herself" share the same sound /l/, while /η/ and /k/ sounds both belong to the Velar type. So the regular rhyme style makes certain phonetic elements occur repeatedly in certain positions, resulting in the coherence and harmoniousness of this poem.

2.2 Rhythm
For rhythm(节奏,韵律), the poet employs different kinds of it in this poem. Iambus tetrameter (- +/- +/- +/- +) occupies the main part. However, four verses "Reaping and singing by herself" (verse 3), " Stop here, or gently pass" (verse 4), "Breaking the silence of the seas" (verse 15), "Long after it was heard no more" (verse32) are started with trochee (+ -), and in the fourth line in the first stanza (Stop here, or gently pass), we can only find three feet + -/ - +/ - + with two syllables each.

3.3 Syllables and Lexis
In the first stanza, with two imperatives "Behold her" and "O Listen", the poem attracts the reader's audio -visual attention on the target, a girl,...
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