She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways by William Wordsworth
Lucy lived unknown in the country-side of England, like a violet half-hidden by a moss-covered stone, but fair as a star when only one is shinning in the sky. There was no one to praise her and very few to love her. She had been brought up in the midst of nature. Nature had been her teacher, stimulating her to good actions and restraining her from her evil ones. She has absorbed the gaiety of living creature, vital feeling of delight as well as the calm peacefulness of lifeless things. Unfortunately, Lucy died young.
This poem is one of the noted Lucy Poems. The poem eulogizes Lucy, reared in the bliss of solitude, Her grand beauty is brought to light by the similes-‘a violet by a mossy stone and a fair star’ bright in the sky. Nature doubly glorifies her- in her life as well as in her death. A melancholy sadness runs into the poem and the deep sad feeling for mortal departure of Lucy has been revealed in these line, under:
“But she is in her grave, and oh!
The difference to me!”
Lucy’s birth and natural growth, perfection and death have been broadly manifested in this poem. The poet doubly expresses his feelings-one the admiration for Lucy and the other is the lamentation for Lucy’s departure from this world.
Lucy was a child of nature, lived a secluded life by the springs of ‘love’. She liver far away from the human habitation. She was simple, modest and lovely like a violet flower that blooms by a moss-covered stone and as bright as stars shinning in the sky. The Lucy had all the superb, finer grandeurs to be supreme value of uniqueness, was eulogized by very few.
To the critics, the death of Lucy is nothing and simply ceased to be. But to the poet her death is full of lamentation and a great loss. Unassuming Lucy who has not disturbed the universe is precious to him. Though death is common to all, it is different to him. His mourn is so hard that it is not shared.
Questions and Answers
Q.1. What is the other title of this poem? Who made this other caption? Do you think it is apt?
Ans. The other caption is “The Lost Love” by F.T. Plagrave in Golden Treasury. In this poem the poet expresses the life and death of Lucy, his lady-love. The word ‘love’ stands for the poet’s beloved and the word ‘lost’ signifies that she is dead. The caption signify, the central theme of the poem and thus apt.
Q.2. Where did Lucy dwelt? What did the poet imagine about how Lucy dwell?
Ans. Lucy dwelt among untrodden ways beside the springs of Dove.
Lucy dwelt lonely on the Lap of nature. She was not on the view of outside world in her living existence. She was completely unseen, unheard and unsung while she was alive as well as after death.
Q.3. How does William Wordsworth describe the loss of Lucy?
Ans. The death of Lucy made him morose. It was great blow to him. He felt the sea-difference between life and death.
Q.4. “A maid whom there were none to praise;
And very few to love.” Who is the ‘maid’? Why were there were none to praise and ‘very few to love’ her?
Ans. The poet, William Wordsworth’s beloved Lucy who dwelt among the untrodden ways is the maid referred to here.
Lucy lived a secluded life. The place where she lived was ‘exempt from public haunts. This is why she is unseen, unheard, unsung and unhonoured.
5. Why does the poet compare Lucy to a ‘violet by a mossy stone’?
Ans. To Make everyone aware of Lucy’s exquisite, beauty, unassuming innocence and appeal, the poet compares Lucy to a violet by a mossy stone’.
6. “Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky?” -Who is fair as a star? What does ‘only one’ signify?
Ans. Lucy, Wordsworth exquisite creation, ‘is fair as a star.
In these two lines Lucy is compared to the evening star which looks brighter when there are no visibility of other stars in the sky. Likewise, Lucy lived in a lonely place untrodden by human feet with other unparallel beauty and charm.
7. “But she is in her grave, and oh!
The difference to me!” -Who is she? What predicament does she face? Explain these lines.
Ans. She is referred to Lucy, a child of Nature and the poet’s beloved. She embraces death.
William Wordsworth loved Lucy. Her death bears a great blow to him. Her living existence was a boon to the poet. But she is no more and her absence makes a difference to the poet though to others, it is nothing but a common departure.
8. What are the similes used by the poet, to describe Lucy?
Ans. Lucy’s life and death are established by two images. She is compared to a violet, modest flower which blooms by a moss covered stone bearing the suggestion of strength of the external world. She is also compared to the evening star shines alone in the sky. These two similes expose Lucy’s unparallel, unique beauty, charm and appeal.
9. What is meant by the phrase ‘ceased to be’? How did the poet feel when he came to know that Lucy had ceased to be?
Ans. Here ‘ceased to be’ means ‘died’. Lucy was dear to the poet. Her death made the poet shocking. As Lucy was unseen, unsung and unheard, her death did not affect people. Since Lucy was no more, life seemed to have lost all its meaning for the poet.
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