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Poem-A-Day

Through Poem-a-Day, we present original, previously unpublished poems by our country's most talented poets throughout the week and classic poems on the weekends. 

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The Solitary Reaper

About this Poem 

“The Solitary Reaper” was written in 1805 and published in 1807 in Wordsworth’s collection Poems, in Two Volumes.

The Solitary Reaper

William Wordsworth, 1770 - 1850
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,
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 
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
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:
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
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,
The music in my heart I bore,   
Long after it was heard no more.

This poem is in the public domain.

This poem is in the public domain.