Task 3C: Romantic features

This task requires you to write an analysis of the poem “The Solitary Reaper” by William Wordsworth, pointing out its typical Romantic features. Firstly we will outline the poem’s form and content and secondly we will focus on the romantic traits identifiable in the text.

Outline

“The Solitary Reaper” by William Wordsworth was published in 1807. The poet belonged to the first wave of British Romantic poets and lived between 1770- 1850. Most of his poems are concerned with nature and the feelings it inspires in human beings.

“The Solitary Reaper” is structured as a four-stanza poem. Each stanza is comprised of eight lines (octet) and loosely follows the rhyme scheme ABABCCDD. This means that the first four lines have alternate end rhymes while the last four rhyme in couplets. However, this rhyme scheme is not respected all the time as in the first and last stanzas, the first and third lines do not rhyme:

BEHOLD her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass! (ll. 1-4)

The overall rhythm of the poem is iambic tetrameter; each lines has eight syllables which form four iambs (unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one): “Behold her, single in the field.” (l. 1)

Exceptions to this pattern are line 4 and line 28 which only have three iambs.

The content of the poem presents a speaker who hears the song of a female reaper (harvester) which impresses him because of it melod...

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