Wordsworth’s Poetical Works Summary and Analysis of “The Solitary Reaper”. Buy Study Guide. In the first stanza the speaker comes across a. A summary of “The Solitary Reaper” in William Wordsworth’s Wordsworth’s Poetry . The poet orders his listener to behold a “solitary Highland lass” reaping and. The Solitary Reaper Summary & Study Guide includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis, quotes, character descriptions, themes, and more.

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The poet asserts that the beauty of the girl’s singing exceeds that of the cuckoo bird’s in the spring-time. We are invited to either stop and listen to her sad song or to gently pass by, so as not to disturb her.

The Solitary Reaper Summary & Study Guide

The speaker asks the reader to listen carefully to a Scottish girl who is singing to reaaper and reaping alone in a field. View a FREE sample. The speaker advises that people should either stop and listen or pass quietly.

As he moved on and began climbing the hills surrounding the valley, he carried the memory of her song with him, long after he could actually hear it. He resigns to never knowing the answer and continues to think of her song even as he is too far to hear it.

The Solitary Reaper

The poet begs someone to tell him what the girl is singing about. He eventually resigns himself to the fact that he may never find out the theme of her never-ending song. What’s the main theme of Its 32 lines, divided into four separate octets, maintain a relatively consistent rhyme scheme and meter throughout, giving the piece an overall musical quality, not unlike that of the reaper’s song described within it.


The work was originally published in the collection Poems, in Two Volumes inthough it was allegedly inspired by a trip the poet took to Scotland in She is harvesting grain and tying it into bundles, and as she does so, she is singing a sad song that fills the valley.

More summaries and resources for teaching or studying The Solitary Reaper. Read more from the Study Guide. This study guide contains the following sections: He wonders if it is inspired by ancient battles or tragedies, or something more everyday—perhaps a loss or grief that is an inevitable and repeating pattern in life. The Solitary Reaper from BookRags.

The Solitary Reaper – Wikipedia

Here is a stanza-by-stanza summary of Wordsworth’s early nineteenth-century poem. View the Study Pack.

The version of the poem used to create this study guide appears in: Selections from Wordsworth and Tennyson. Receiving no answer, he muses that, perhaps, she is singing about old sorrows, or battles of long ago, or more mundane concerns, or even some suffering which she has endured and may endure again. The song has such a powerful impact on the traveler that even long after this encounter with the maiden, they continue to hold its melody in their heart. The speaker speculates on why her song is so sad.


This speaker becomes enamored with both the girl’s voice and the meaning of the song. The speaker observes that her voice and song were beautiful and more welcoming than a nightingale’s song would have been to nomads in the deserts of Arabia or a cuckoo’s song in the spring that breaks the quiet isolation of Scotland’s westernmost islands.

He insists she sounds better than the birds in spring and desperately wants to know the meaning of the song; he’s aware of the sorrow, but does not know to what point. Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, Follow Us on Facebook. Expert Answers teachsuccess Certified Educator.

Short summary of the poem, “The Solitary Reaper.” | eNotes

Get The Solitary Reaper from Amazon. He goes on to say that no nightingale ever sang a more welcoming song to bands of tired wanderers in an Arabian desert. Her singing is also the only thing solittary breaks the silence of the seas among the Hebride islands.

The speaker says that he stood and listened to her song as she continued to work in the valley. The Prose Works of William Wordsworth.