Saturday, 13 February 2016



“Behold her, single in the field.
Stop here or gently pass!”

·         At the outset the poet tells us to look at a girl who is single in the field.
·         The word ‘Single’ and ‘Solitary’ makes us aware about the hushed atmosphere of the valley.
·         She is simultaneously singing and reaping.
·         “stop here or gently pass”

Critics have evaluated the line in different ways. Firstly – The poet is so mesmerised with the effect of the Solitary Reaper’s song that he could not decide whether to stop or gently pass.

Secondly – The poet was elated by the song of the Solitary Reaper and did not want the song to come to an end for him. If he stops or passes by, in both cases the girl might see him and stop singing. So he was in confusion whether he would stop or gently pass.

Thirdly- The poet addresses to the passersby not to be reason of disturbance. He advises them either to stop or pass gently (This seems impractical as the poet stated already that the reaper was lonely and in secluded atmosphere)

Poetic Devices in use: -
I)                   Antitheses – “Stop here or gently pass!”


Line – 5-8

Again we are acquainted with the loneliness of the Solitary Reaper. She cuts and binds the grain alone and sings melancholy songs. Then the poet urges us to listen and feel the effect of the song. According to the poet, the whole valley is overfilled with the enchanting song of the Solitary Reaper.
Poetic Devices in use: -
I)                   Inversion – alone she cuts and binds the grain.
II)                 Antithesis – cuts and binds
III)              O listen! For the vale profound – (Apostrophe)
IV)              O listen! for the vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound (Hyperbole, Enjambment)

Line – 9-12

At the outset of the second stanza the poet went on comparing the song of the Solitary Reaper with the song of nightingale. He did so only to establish the superiority of the song of Solitary Reaper. The song of the nightingale is ‘welcome song’ to the tired group of travellers in the oasis of Arabian Desert. Wordsworth here has chosen consciously the nightingale, the best singing bird only to make us aware about the superiority of the song of Solitary Reaper.
Poetic Devices in use: -
I)                   Alliteration – “No Nightingale”, “Some Shady”, “Among Arabian”.
II)                 Metaphor – The Solitary Reaper’s song has been compared with the song of Nightingale.
III)              Enjambment – “More welcome notes to weary bands of     travellers..................


After comparing the song of the Solitary Reaper with the nightingale, Wordsworth goes on describing and comparing with cuckoo, another acclaimed sweet singing bird. Wordsworth takes us to the Hebrides where the silences of the remote islands are broken by the voice of the cuckoo bird.
            At the same time Wordsworth consciously states that the voice of the Solitary Reaper was a thrilling one and he had never heard such a voice as this.
Poetic Devices in use: -
I)                   Inversion – a voice so thrilling never was heard.
II)                 Metaphor - here the song of the nightingale is compared to that of cuckoo.
III)              Hyperbole – Breaking the silence of the seas.

                Line – 17-20

Now Wordsworth goes on guessing what the song means. This is to be kept in mind that the Solitary Reaper song in Erse (Local Gaelic Language). So Wordsworth had a little knowledge about what was the theme of the song. He concluded the song to be a melancholic one. He further guessed that the reason of the sad songs of the Solitary Reaper to be the deceased kinsmen in the battle. The poet also hinted at “for old unhappy, far-off things”. This part of the sentence may relate to natural disasters and diseases which might have become the reason for the end of many lives.
Poetic Devices in use: -
I)                   Nothing as such.

They the poet asserts the song to be an ordinary song. The reason of the song did have any special reason. He opined that the song was nothing but an ordinary one. And the reason of the song is based on day to-day issues that we generally face. These sad incidents were existing before hand and still those prevails and will be found in future too. It could be related to natural deaths in family and friends; loss of near and dear ones; separation between the loved ones etc.
Poetic Devices in use: -
I)                   Nothing as such.

At this point Wordsworth quits guessing the theme of the song. He was so exhilarated by the melody of the song; he felt as if the song with never end. Again the poet reminds us how she sang the song while bending over sickle. He was completely engrossed with the song. He was motionless and still as the song had captured his basic consciousness. The effect of the song was such that it was the indelible one. He bore the music in his heart and carried it as treasure. Wordsworth admits in the concluding line that such music was never heard by him again thus acclaiming it to be a heavenly one.

 Poetic Devices in use: -
I)                   Alliteration – ‘the theme’.
II)                 Inversion – “ and over the sickle bending”
III)              Tautology – “I listened , motionless and still”
IV)              Inversion – “the music in my heart I bore”
Inversion – “Long after it was heard no more.”
Written By Badal Paul
The author is a passionate blogger, writer and educationalist. This blog is created to ease troubles of the Cbse students. The author holds multiple blogs and the writer of the Novel KALCHAKRA, OOM AND THE CHOSEN FIVE.