William Wordsworth, a famous romantic poet, by the poem “The Solitary Reaper”, throws light on the impact of Nature on the mind and heart of the girl. He sees a solitary Scottish girl reaping corn in a field. She is singing a sweet song while reaping and binding the sheaves of corns. She sings a melancholy song. He asks himself to stop there, or pass by the field quietly, without disturbing her. The whole valley is filled with the sound of the sad song that she is singing. Her sweet song is sweeter and charming than that of any nightingale that ever sang in the deserts of Arabia. Her voice is more thrilling than that of a cuckoo who welcomes the spring season in England. (The Solitary Reaper)
The poet does not know the Scottish language and guesses the subject-matter of the song. She might be singing heroic deeds of the past. It may be the recollection of some lost battle or some ordinary event of sorrow. She might e singing about the gains and losses of her forefathers. Yet there may be some familiar matter of today. Whatever the theme might have been, she sang without a break while reaping the corn. He is deeply engrossed in the beauty of the song. As the song is in the mother tongue, the poet does not understand the contents of the song. He is so much inspired by the beauty of the song. The song is going to have no end. He, therefore, leaves the place by bearing the music in his heart. The melody of the song haunted him even when it was heard no more. Thus:
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
Explanation with Reference
Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland lass;
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass
Wordsworth comes across a lovely maiden at work in the field of corn all alone in Scotland. She is reaping and binding corn into sheaves and singing to mitigate her loneliness. The poet senses that he should disturb her song. Her rhythm and spontaneity should not be interrupted. So he asks himself to either stop to enjoy her song or pass the place silently.
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen; for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
In the given lines, the poet recalls the girl’s artistic manner of cutting and binding the grain. The poet is fascinated by her reaping style and the bewitching tone of her melancholy song. Thus, he wishes his listener should feel the resonance of her melodious song in the deep Scottish valley. He wishes to share his happiness with others. The whole valley is resonant with her song.
No nightingale did ever chant
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travelers in some shady haunt
Among Arabian sands;
Wordsworth compares the song of the girl with that of the nightingale. He asserts that the song of Highland lass is enchanting. Although the chirping of the nightingale bewitches the tired group of travelers in some oasis the poet prefers the song of the girl. There have been many humans whose voice had matchless quality .So the poet does not exaggerate, he speaks realistically.
A voice so thrilling never was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silences of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides
In the given lines, the poet draws a comparison between the songs of the girl with that of Cuckoo. Cuckoo is a messenger of the spring season. Its voice creates resonance in the silent environment of the farthest Hebrides. The poet prefers the voice of the Highland girl. So, her voice is bewitching that it cannot be equaled by any Cuckoo voice.
Whatever 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-
The poet fails to get the exact contents of the girl’s song. He stops bothering about her song. Thus, He concludes that her song is going to have no end. He wonders as it looks that her song has no end. She is bending to cut grain with her sickle. The poet takes consequent inspiration from her harmonious singing and sickle operating manually yet mechanically.
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
These are the concluding lines of the poem. The poet remains engrossed in the beauty of her song. The poet keeps the memory of her song in his heart. He symbolizes the solitary reaper as the part and parcel of the mysterious joy of Nature. The recollection of this joyous event is stored in his mind like the date on the hard disk of the computer. The natural pleasure from a natural scene is the basic element of the poem. The music of her song will linger in his imagination.
Visual Effects in the Solitary Reaper
“The Solitary Reaper” by William Wordsworth is a wonderful poem. The language of the poem is simple and of the common man. The idea conveyed in the poem is deeper and has a long lasting impact. The poet paints a graphic picture of a countryside girl. Apparently, the song of the girl is simple but it is a wonderful spiritual experience of the poet.
With the help of powerful words, the poet transports the reader into a world of his own. So we feel to be with Wordsworth having the same experience of the beauty of Nature. The singing, reaping, and binding of the girl mesmerize the poet.
The melodious song has captured the whole valley. Its resonance is all around having a spell on the poet. The reader of the poem is also with the poet enjoying the same sweetness and freshness of her song. The excellence of the girl’s song is comparable to that of nightingale and cuckoo. No singing bird having a lot of musicality can be the parallel to the highland’s song. We are left with a sense of joy and jollity after going through the poem. Its spellbound impact lasts on our mind as we find it on the poet. Reaping, sheaving, singing, nightingale, cuckoo, oasis, weary bands, battles, pain, pleasure, sickle, hill are such words that bring deep visual impact on our mind.
Lastly, the poet also creates musicality through words such as still, hills, bore, more, grain, strain, sing, things, pain, again bring deep impact on our mind.