Thursday, June 12, 2014

Poem of the Day: "Strange fits of passion have I known" by William Wordsworth, Poet of the Month

The Songs of Eretz Poem of the Day for June 12, 2014 is "Strange fits of passion have I known" 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:

Strange fits of passion have I known

William Wordsworth

Strange fits of passion have I known:
And I will dare to tell,
But in the Lover's ear alone,
What once to me befell.

When she I loved looked every day
Fresh as a rose in June,
I to her cottage bent my way,
Beneath an evening-moon.

Upon the moon I fixed my eye,
All over the wide lea;
With quickening pace my horse drew nigh
Those paths so dear to me.

And now we reached the orchard-plot;
And, as we climbed the hill,
The sinking moon to Lucy's cot
Came near, and nearer still.

In one of those sweet dreams I slept,
Kind Nature's gentlest boon!
And all the while my eyes I kept
On the descending moon.

My horse moved on; hoof after hoof
He raised, and never stopped:
When down behind the cottage roof,
At once, the bright moon dropped.

What fond and wayward thoughts will slide
Into a Lover's head!
"O mercy!" to myself I cried,
"If Lucy should be dead!"

"Strange fits of passion have I known" is one of Wordsworth's "Lucy" poems.  Other "Lucy" poems that have been featured in the Review include:  "She dwelt among the untrodden ways", and "A slumber did my spirit seal

Typical of the ballads of Wordsworth that have been examined in the Review, "Strange fits of passion have I known" is presented in rhyming iambic tetrameter with a foot omitted from every even line for emphasis.  This particular ballad is not Wordsworth's strongest work.  He describes his lover as "fresh as a rose in June" and then proceeds to rhyme "June" with "moon."  Even in Wordsworth's day, such turns of phrase would have been considered to be tired clich├ęs.

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