Explanation of William Wordsworth’s The Solitary Reaper

The Solitary Reaper is a poem by William Wordsworth.

Stanza-Wise Explanation

Stanza 1

The poet sees a Highland girl in the field. This girl is reaping the crop and singing to herself. The poet likes this scene. He says to the passers-by either to stop there quietly or to pass from there without making the least noise. The girl is cutting and binding the crop alone and also singing a song. This song is of sad nature. But the poet likes it very much and wants everybody to listen to it. The song is also echoing in the valley.

Stanza 2

The poet thinks that even the nightingale famous for its singing to the tired travellers in the Arabian desert when they take rest at an Oasis, cannot sing better than this girl.The singing of the girl is also better and more thrilling than the Cuckoo-bird which sings in the spring season and then breaks the silence of the seas among the faraway Hebrides.

Stanza 3

The poet is unable to understand the language in which the girl is singing. He does not know the theme of the song and wants somebody to tell him the theme. He thinks that the song is about old, unhappy incidents or of some battles in the past. The song can also be about some familiar matter related to the life of the girl. The song may also be about some natural sorrow, pain or loss which has happened to her.

Stanza 4

The poet does not think too much about the theme of the song. He is enjoying the song heartily. The poet thinks that there is no end to the girl’s singing as if she will never stop singing. He watches her singing and using the sickle to do her work at the same time in the field. The poet says that he listened to her song without making any kind of movement and noise. When the poet went up the hill he says that he still remembered the music of the song which that highland girl sang. The poet also says that he will always remember her singing.

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