Wordsworth's Poetical Works

The Solitary Reaper

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, 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?

Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang 25

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, 30

The music in my heart I bore,

Long after it was heard no more.