poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this Poem 

“The Solitary Reaper” was written in 1805 and published in 1807 in Wordsworth’s collection Poems, in Two Volumes.

The Solitary Reaper

William Wordsworth, 1770 - 1850
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.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth, who rallied for "common speech" within poems and argued against the poetic biases of the period, wrote some of the most influential poetry in Western literature, including his most famous work, The Prelude, which is often considered to be the crowning achievement of English romanticism.

by this poet

poem
Surprised by joy—impatient as the Wind
I turned to share the transport—Oh! with whom
But Thee, deep buried in the silent tomb,
That spot which no vicissitude can find?
Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind—
But how could I forget thee? Through what power,
Even for the least division of an hour,
Have I
poem
There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, 
The earth, and every common sight
                 To me did seem
            Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;--
             Turn wheresoe'er I may,
              By night or day,
The
poem
I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that