thesolitaryreaper

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24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 1 The Solitary Reaper -William Wordsworth (from Memorials of a Tour in Scotland, 1803)

William Wordsworth 1770-1850:

24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 2 William Wordsworth 1770-1850

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24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 3 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.

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24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 4 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.

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24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 5 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?

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24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 6 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 listened, motionless and still; And, as I mounted up the hill The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more.

Notes::

24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 7 Notes: Coleridge, Wordsworth, and his sister had visited the Scottish Highlands in 1803. In a note to early editions of the poem Wordsworth recorded his indebtedness to a sentence in his friend Wilkinson's manuscript of his Tours of the British Mountains: "Passed by a Female who was reaping alone; she sang in Erse as she bended over her sickle, the sweetest human voice I ever heard. Her strains were tenderly melancholy, and felt delicious long after they were heard no more."

The poem itself needs little explanation, but note the memorable quality of phrases like 'stop here, or gently pass', or the wonderful imagery of 'breaking the silence of the seas'. Note also the slightly unusual rhyme scheme, ababccdd, which along with the short fourth line gives the poem a nice rhythmic effect .:

24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 8 The poem itself needs little explanation, but note the memorable quality of phrases like 'stop here, or gently pass' , or the wonderful imagery of 'breaking the silence of the seas' . Note also the slightly unusual rhyme scheme, ababccdd , which along with the short fourth line gives the poem a nice rhythmic effect .

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24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 9 2 ] Highland : mountainous region in northern Scotland associated with the Celtic clans. 7 ] Vale profound : broad, deep valley between two high ranges; possibly the world itself, as a place of suffering (OED "vale" 2b). Wordsworth takes this from conventional poetic diction; cf. Gilbert West's "Education. A Poem" (1751), lines 617-21: On to the Centre of the Grove they stray'd; Which, in a spacious Circle opening round, Within it's shelt'ring Arms securely laid, Disclosed to sudden View a Vale profound , With Nature's artless Smiles and tranquil Beauties crown'd.

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24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 10 9 ] Nightingale : a small song-bird, well-known for the male's musical notes in the mating and nesting season. 14 ] Cuckoo-bird : song-bird migrating to Britain in the spring and associated with renewal. 16 ] Hebrides: islands northwest of Scotland in the Atlantic. 16 ] Hebrides: islands northwest of Scotland in the Atlantic.

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24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 11 18 ] plaintive numbers : conventional poetic phrase, as in George Dyer's "Ode XIX. To a Young Painter and Poetess" (1801): So may the foliage of thy spring Be follow'd by the richest bloom; Nor thou in plaintive numbers sing To Genius, withering in the tomb. 21 ] humble lay : conventional poetic diction, as in Thomas Warton's "ODE V. To a Gentleman upon his Travels thro' Italy" (1747), lines 1-3: While I with fond officious care, For you my chorded shell prepare, And not unmindful frame an humble lay ...

"The Solitary Reaper" Paraphrase :

24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 12 The poet orders his listener to behold a "solitary Highland lass" reaping and singing by herself in a field. He says that anyone passing by should either stop here, or "gently pass" so as not to disturb her. As she "cuts and binds the grain" she "sings a melancholy strain," and the valley overflows with the beautiful, sad sound. contd... "The Solitary Reaper" Paraphrase

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24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 13 Contd... The speaker says that the sound is more welcome than any chant of the nightingale to weary travellers in the desert, an that the cuckoo-bird in spring never sang with a voice so thrilling. Contd...

Contd... Impatient, the poet asks, "Will no one tell me what she sings?" He speculates that her song might be about "old, unhappy, far-off things, / And battles long ago," or that it might be humbler, a simple song about "matter of today." Whatever she sings about, he says, he listened "motionless and still," and as he travelled up the hill, he carried her song with him in his heart long after he could no longer hear it. :

24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 14 Contd... Impatient, the poet asks, "Will no one tell me what she sings?" He speculates that her song might be about "old, unhappy, far-off things, / And battles long ago," or that it might be humbler, a simple song about "matter of today." Whatever she sings about, he says, he listened "motionless and still," and as he travelled up the hill, he carried her song with him in his heart long after he could no longer hear it.

Appreciation of Poetry:

24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 15 Appreciation of Poetry This poem is a sort of snapshot. It recaptures a single instance in time and space. (compare, for instance, 'Daffodils' and 'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge' ). It reflects Wordsworth's own philosophy of poetry; i.e., that a poem should be a 'spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings, recollected in tranquillity'. contd...

Literary Devices Used:

24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 16 Literary Devices Used Alliteration S ings a melancholy s train N o n ightingale did ever chaunt A mong A rabian sands Breaking the s ilence of the s eas, etc.etc. Imagery Breaking the silence if the seas

What exactly is it that Wordsworth is telling his reader?:

24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 17 What exactly is it that Wordsworth is telling his reader? Is it that: People who do hard work, the laboring class, can still perform their tasks joyfully, with a beautiful song in their heart? Even the lowest amongst us, the laboring class, are creatures of talent and beauty? contd...

contd...:

24 September 2005 Ratna Pathak, TGT English, KV BSF, Jodhpur 18 contd... We can never really know the heart of another because each of us speaks a foreign tongue, communicating who we really are in a language unique to us? If we are alert to the world around us we will see and hear great beauty that will make an enduring impression upon us? All of the above?

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