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Part 2


Strange Fits Of Passion Have I

Strange fits of passion have I known:
And I will dare to tell,
But in the lover's ear alone,
What once to me befell.

In one of those sweet dreams I slept,

Kind Nature's gentlest boon!
And all the while my eye I kept
On the descending moon.

When she I loved looked every day

Fresh as a rose in June,
I to her cottage bent my way,
Beneath an evening-moon.

My horse moved on; hoof after hoof

He raised, and never stopped:
When down behind the cottage roof,
At once, the bright moon dropped.

Upon the moon I fixed my eye,

All over the wide lea;
With quickening pace my horse drew
Those paths so dear to me.

What fond and wayward thoughts will

Into a Lover's head!
'O mercy!' to myself I cried,
'If Lucy hould be dead!'

And now we reached the orchard-plot;

And, as we climbed the hill,
The sinking moon to Lucy's cot
Came near, and nearer still.



Each stanza consists of four lines (quatrains), with

alternating lines of iambic tetrameter and iambic
trimester. The rhyme scheme is ABAB.
Literary Devices
Fresh as a rose in June (line 6), which he says
describes the way Lucy looks to him every day.


The language is direct and practically free of literary

tropes. The result of such sparseness of verbal
decoration, coupled with the sparseness of the ballad
stanza itself (quatrains of alternating lines of four and
three beats), focuses the readers attention on the
action in the poem. Much of that action is simple
mental reverie, but the growing state of anxiety which
the speaker feels as he approaches Lucys cottage is
made apparent to the reader through the simple
language and rustic form of this ballad.


First stanza: the speaker reveals that he has experienced strange fits of passion.
He admits that he would only dare to describe those fits of passion to his lover
alone. This implies that the nature of these fits is perhaps sexual. They are most
certainly passionate, and he longs for the one he loves. He longs to whisper into her
ear and tell her of his deepest feelings and of these strange fits of passion that he
Second stanza: the speaker tells of going to see his lover every day. With this stanza,
the speaker begins to allow the readers to understand his relationship to this woman
whom he loves. He thinks of her beauty as he journeys to see her. He longs to tell
her of all that he feels.
Third stanza: the speaker continues to build up the anticipation of seeing his lover.
As he nears the path to her house, he quickens the pace of the horse, anxious to see
Fourth stanza: Continuing to build the anticipation, the speaker describes the
scenery. The build-up and anticipation of approaching the cottage of his lover allows
the reader to enter into his feelings. The reader can relate to that feeling of anxious
anticipation and longing to be with ones lover.
Fifth stanza: The speaker felt very much like he was in a dream as he journeyed
toward his lover. Being in love can feel like a dream.
Sixth stanza: he pondered over the dream, trying to remember the details.


Seventh stanza: The speaker has a horrible thought and he

thinks about the terrible possibility that Lucy should be
dead. This is when the dream turns into a nightmare. His fear
suddenly seizes him. Anyone who has ever truly loved
someone can identify with this fear. It is not uncommon for
people to feel an overwhelming fear of losing the person most
dear to them. This is the fear that the speaker experiences.
Throughout his journey to Lucys cottage, he has been
thinking about his love for her, his passionate fits of love she
has evoked, and his eager anticipation to see her. But as he
rides up to her house, a terrible fear overcomes him. He
wonders how he would ever live if Lucy should die. This gives
another meaning to the title, as well. Perhaps his strange fits
of passion refers to the moment when fear of death suddenly
seizes him and he is overwhelmed by his fear of losing his

The Solitary Reaper

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
Is overflowing with the sound.

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?

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.

Whate'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 I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.



The four eight-line stanzas of this poem are written in a tight iambic tetrameter. Each follows a
rhyme scheme of ABABCCDD, though in the first and last stanzas the A rhyme is off (field/self
and sang/work).
Literary Devices
Apostrophe: a figure of speech where the speaker of the poem addresses a dead or absent
person, an abstraction, or an inanimate object.
At the beginning of the poem the speaker invites the reader to Behold, her single in the field,/
Yon solitary Highland Lass! He further cautions the reader to Stop here, or gently pass!
Although the reader is not present, the speakers imperative to behold the girl at her work
puts the reader vicariously in the company of the speaker, as if they were walking the
Highlands together. After the first four lines, the speaker shifts his attention away from the
implied presence of the reader and does not allude to it again
Metaphor : comparing two images without explicitly stating the comparison.
In the second stanza the speaker compares the song of the reaper to those of the nightingale
and cuckoo. Although the three songs are fundamentally different from one another, they
become metaphors for transcendence as they suggest to the speaker distant times and places.
Because the maidens song is in a language unknown to the speaker, he is freed from trying to
understand the words and is able to give his imagination full rein. The bird-songs and the girls
song are thus intertwined, a further link of the maiden to nature.

Literary Devices


The poet does not give description toward the reaper. However,
he appeal to our senses by connecting her with shady haunts of
Arabian sands, the cuckoo and the nightingale, the seas beyond
the Hebrides, epic battles, and the common human experiences
of sorrow and pain. From his perspective, she becomes the
center of the universe, if only for a moment.
The repetition of s sound reinforce the importance of music. For
example, in the first four lines of the first stanza, fourteen words
contain s. This pattern is repeated in the other stanzas but
decreases toward the end of the poem as the reapers song
releases its grip on the consciousness of the speaker.


The Solitary Reaper begins with the speaker asking the reader to behold
the girl as she works in the field. The first stanza is a straightforward
description of the scene. The girl is standing alone in the field, cutting grain,
and singing a melancholy strain. Wordsworth emphasizes the girls
solitude by using words such as single, solitary, by herself, and
alone. Solitaries are common figures in Wordsworths poetry and are
usually surrounded by a natural environment. The act of reaping alone in
the field binds the girl intimately to the earth. Also, as the girl sings and the
melody fills the lonely valley, she becomes almost completely merged with
The next two stanzas describe the speakers reaction to the maidens song.
The words of the song are in a language unknown to him, but he remains
transfixed by the melody, which seems to stretch the limits of time and
space. He associates the sweetness of the reapers song with the beautiful
cries of the nightingale and the cuckoo, both familiar images of
transcendence in Romantic poetry. As he allows the song to engulf his
consciousness, he envisions far-off places and times of long ago. His
imagination transports him from the field in which he stands to the edge of
In the fourth stanza, the speaker abruptly shifts his attention from his
musings to the scene before him. He continues to listen, but the

In this poem, Wordsworth writes specifically about real
human music encountered in a beloved, rustic setting
and praise the beauty of music and its fluid expressive
beauty. Although, the song of the young girl reaping in
the fields is incomprehensible to him, what he
appreciates is its tone, its expressive beauty, and the
mood it creates within him. To an extent, then, this
poem ponders the limitations of language, as it does in
the third stanza (Will no one tell me what she sings?).
The final two lines of the poem (Its music in my heart I
bore / Long after it was heard no more) return its focus

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