The Solitary Reaper Poem Summary Line by Line

The Solitary Reaper Summary


The Solitary Reaper, a lyrical poem by William Wordsworth, a renown romantic poet deals with the common experience of daily life. The poet recounts an incident of the past beautifully in verse. This is an excellent example of the poet’s aesthetic sense and high artistic taste.


One day the poet saw a mountain girl who was all alone reaping grain and singing by herself. The poet did not like the singing girl to be disturbed by the passers.


She was cutting and binding the grain and during the course of her work she was singing a melancholic song. The song was more sweet and melodious than the songs of nightingale who used to greet the weary travelers among the Arabian Oasis and was more thrilling than the songs of the cuckoo in the Springtime. The whole valley was full of this musical song and her beautiful tune was breaking the silences of the seas among the farthest Hebrides.


The poet could not understand the theme of the song as it was in foreign local dialect yet he tried to guess the meaning. He guessed that the song was perhaps a complaint about old unpleasant far-off events and battles which took place long ago. It might be a simple matter related to the past or present.


In the end the poet does not bother about the theme. He got absorbed in the miraculous sight.


He stood motionless and still, listening to the sweet strain and looking the girl.


The music impressed him so much that he hears it in his solitude even now when it is heard no more. Hence this sweet poem proves the truth of Keats, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”


Tender feelings, past memories, natural beauty and loneliness mixed with realistic and sentimental style make this narrative a true representation of Wordsworth. The beauty of song is given a romantic touch by hinting at the Arabian Oasis, Island of Hebrides, Weary travelers and unknown language. Loneliness is the main feature giving the song fairy-tale like impression.


Most probably the song would not be so impressive if it was not heard in solitude. Monosyllabic as well as polysyllabic vocabulary, subject matter of the song, similes of the nightingale and the cuckoo and suitable rhyming scheme are the remarkable features of this lyric.

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