The Solitary Reaper (VIII). William Wordsworth – 1803 and 1805.


Play an audio version of this poem.

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. 

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? 

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.

Poet's Corner

Like so many, my first contact with poetry was at school. In my teens I tried my hand at poetry and found that I rather enjoyed it. As a musician, poetry enabled me to write songs - really cool to be a teenager and strumming out your own songs (badly in my case) on the guitar. I decided to build this site alongside a corresponding YouTube channel (Poets' Corner) and include both a narrated version of each poem along with the printed version. Having always loved (and many times visited) The Lake District in northwest England it seemed only right to start with Wiliam Wordsworth and, once I've created a significant body of his work, I'll start working on other poets.

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