Verse > Anthologies > Robert Bridges, ed. > The Spirit of Man: An Anthology
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Robert Bridges, ed. (1844–1930).  The Spirit of Man: An Anthology.  1916.
 
From The Solitary Reaper

William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
 
BEHOLD 1 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,        5
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        10
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        15
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:        20
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? …
 
Note 1. Wordsworth. The solitary reaper. Omits last stanza. [back]
 
 
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