Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Poem of the Day: "A slumber did my spirit seal" by William Wordsworth, Poet of the Month

The Songs of Eretz Poem of the Day for June 10, 2014 is "A slumber did my spirit seal" by William Wordsworth, Poet of the Month.  Information about the Songs of Eretz Poet of the Month feature as well as a biographical essay about William Wordsworth may be found here:  http://www.eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2014/06/songs-of-eretz-poetry-review-poet-of.html.

A slumber did my spirit seal
William Wordsworth

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.

The poem takes the form of a short, rhyming ballad in iambic tetrameter with the deliberate omission of a foot in every even line for emphasis.  This is the shortest ballad of Wordsworth that has been examined in the Review.

"She" is introduced in the third line of the poem.  It would at first appear to refer to the speaker's slumbering spirit, but if the speaker is Wordsworth, it would be odd for him to refer to his spirit as "she" rather than "he" or, more appropriately, "it."  So, "she" seems to refer to a female that the speaker knew--knew, as past tense is used.  This female apparently possessed an ageless appearance.

The second stanza makes clear that the female of the prior stanza is dead and at one with the earth.  In this context, first two lines of the poem seem to mean that the speaker is at peace with the loss.

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