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A Short Analysis of William Wordsworth’s ‘Strange fits of passion have I known’

‘Strange fits of passion have I known’ belongs to a small suite of poems William Wordsworth wrote about ‘Lucy’, a girl or young woman (her precise age is difficult to determine); along with ‘A slumber did my spirit seal’ (which does not mention Lucy by name) and ‘She dwelt among the untrodden ways’, ‘Strange fits of passion’ appeared in the 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads, the volume Wordsworth co-wrote with Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Strange fits of passion I have known:
And I will dare to tell,
But in the Lover’s ear alone,
What once to me befel.

When she I loved was strong and gay,
And like a rose in June,
I to her cottage bent my way,
Beneath the evening Moon.

Upon the Moon I fixed my eye,
All over the wide lea:
My Horse trudged on—and we drew nigh
Those paths so dear to me. Read the rest of this entry


A Short Analysis of Wordsworth’s ‘She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways’

A commentary on one of Wordsworth’s ‘Lucy’ poems

‘She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways’ is one of William Wordsworth’s ‘Lucy’ poems, which he first published in the 1800 reprint of his landmark volume Lyrical Ballads (co-authored with Samuel Taylor Coleridge). In three quatrains, Wordsworth summarises the life, beauty, and death of Lucy, a ‘Maid’ who lived and died among Wordsworth’s beloved Lake District. Before we offer a few words of analysis of this poem, here’s a reminder of it.

She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
A Maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love:

A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye!
—Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.

She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me!

For the critic Geoffrey Durrant, the three stanzas of ‘She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways’ represent ‘Lucy’s growth, perfection, and death’. Read the rest of this entry

A Short Analysis of William Wordsworth’s ‘A slumber did my spirit seal’

A reading of a classic Wordsworth poem

‘A slumber did my spirit seal’, as this wonderful little poem by William Wordsworth (1770-1850) is known (its first line providing its unofficial title), is one of Wordsworth’s best-known short poems. It’s a lyric, an elegy, and a nature poem all in one. Here is the poem, along with some words of analysis. (We’ve offered more tips for the close reading of poetry here.)

A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.

No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees. Read the rest of this entry