Flashcards in Wordsworth Deck (42):
Strange Fits of Passion: Was this poem in Lyrical Ballads?
Yes, the second edition
Strange Fits of Passion: What name to critics give to this and four other poems?
The "Lucy" poems
Strange Fits of Passion: What happens in this poem?
The speaker describes a strange feeling he once had while riding to cottage of his beloved at night. Once he arrives, he is overcome by the idea that she might be dead behind her door.
Strange Fits of Passion: What does the poem suggest might instigate the speaker's "strange fit of passion"?
The moon, which has been his companion and guide on his journey, drops out of sight just as he arrives at Lucy's cottage.
What are the characteristics of a ballad?
- Composed of quatrains
- Regular rhyme scheme (ABAB, CDCD, etc)
- Alternating lines of iambic tetrameter (1st and 3rd lines) and iambic trimeter (2nd and 4th lines)
Strange Fits of Passion: What is the form of this poem? Why might Wordsworth have chosen this form?
It is reminiscent, perhaps, of a horse's clopping steps - but also because of the aims of Lyrical Ballads he outlines in the Preface. He wanted to use forms and language familiar to common people.
She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways: To what group of poems does this one belong?
The Lucy poems
She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways: What is the speaker describing in this poem?
He speaks of Lucy, a beautiful "violet" who lived a somewhat seclusive life. The area where she lives was not well-traveled, and not many people knew her. Thus, not many people knew or cared when she died - except for the poet.
"But she is in her grave, and, oh / The difference to me!"
She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways: Is this poem in Lyrical Ballads?
Yes (second edition)
She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways: What form does this poem take?
She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways: What three phases can the poem be broken into?
The poem's three stanzas can be read as a kind of progression - growth, perfection, and then death.
Three Years She Grew: Of what series does this poem belong?
The "Lucy" poems
Three Years She Grew: Was this poem in Lyrical Ballads?
Yes (second edition)
Three Years She Grew: What happens in this poem?
A girl grows to be three years old before Nature takes a liking to her and decides to make Lucy her "darling." Nature grants her many admirable qualities, and Lucy is able to appreciate and communicate with Nature like few can. Despite all these gifts, Lucy dies young, and the poet, who loved her, is left with nothing but memory.
Three Years She Grew: How old is Lucy when nature first takes an interest in her?
Three Years She Grew: How might we characterize the depiction of Nature in this poem?
Although the virtues of communing with Nature are clear, we might also look askance at Nature, who puts so much effort in to crafting Lucy on to let her die young. Ultimately, there is a "marriage" between Lucy and Nature - her human lover is left out of the equation by her death.
A Slumber Did my Spirit Seal: To what group of poems does this belong? What is unique in it among this series?
The Lucy Poems; It is the only one which doesn't mention her name.
A Slumber Did my Spirit Seal: Was this poem published in Lyrical Ballads?
Yes (second edition)
A Slumber Did my Spirit Seal: What does this poem describe?
The speaker describes a "slumber" which protects his spirit. This slumber is tied into the fact that "she" seems eternal, untouched by human years. The second and final stanza cites a change - "she" is presumably dead (she is in the earth, along with rocks and trees). Her death awakens the speaker from his protective slumber.
A Slumber Did my Spirit Seal: What form does this poem take?
Which lines in a Ballad are iambic tetrameter?
1st and 3rd of each stanza
Which lines in a Ballad are iambic trimeter?
2nd and 4th of each stanza
The Ruined Cottage: Of which larger work is this poem a part?
The Ruined Cottage: Is this poem in Lyrical Ballads?
The Ruined Cottage: What form does this poem take?
A blank verse pastoral
What is Blank Verse?
Verse without rhyme, especially that which uses iambic pentameter.
The Ruined Cottage: What happens in this poem?
The speaker, a man who travels the countryside, stops with a companion to rest at the sight of a ruined cottage. His companion, an old man, tells the story of the people who used to live there.
There was a very kind woman, her husband, and two children who lived here. Two consecutive "blighting seasons" make life very hard for them. The harsh circumstances drive Robert to join the militia - he disappears without notice one day. The woman struggles alone to raise her children, but it is very difficult. She finds her mind wandering as she is overcome by poverty and grief.
One of her children is sent to live in a nearby parish, and the other dies. She always hoped to learn what happened to her husband, but could never get any information. She eventually dies of grief.
The Ruined Cottage: What is the name of the woman in this poem?
The Ruined Cottage: What is the name of the husband in this poem?
The Ruined Cottage: How does this poem differ in spirit from many of Wordsworth's other works?
Unlike many other of Wordsworth's works, there are very few traces of optimism here. It is more about the inequity of society and the harshness of fate (though he does note that there is "in mournful thoughts / a power to virtue friendly."
The Ruined Cottage: How does the old man know this story?
He has traveled this road many times through the years. He learned the story as period updates through Margaret, who was his friend, when he would stop there to rest while traveling.
The Ruined Cottage: What was Robert's occupation?
A farmer - that's why the blight was so disastrous for his family.
The Ruined Cottage: When does this story take place?
Wordsworth sets the blight as being "ten years" or so back, but, in reality, the only recent-ish blighting season was from 3 or 4 years before he wrote the poem. His story would also mean that it's only been five years or so since the cottage was inhabited - meaning that the decay is exaggerated for artistic effect.
The Ruined Cottage: How long did Margaret live alone before she died?
The Ruined Cottage: What is so bad about the blight that ruins Margaret's life?
There are two consecutive blighting seasons - there was basically no way to recover from two seasons of being unable to grow food or earn money.
Is "Lucy" Lucy Gray?
No, confusingly. There is debate among scholars about who she might be, but they all seem to agree that Lucy Gray is a different person (though perhaps Wordsworth was inspired by her short life).
Lines Composed a Few Miles...: What is the form of this poem?
Lines Composed a Few Miles...: What "happens" in this poem?
The speaker observes and appreciates the landscape around Tinturn Abbey, ruminating on his past self. Then, as now, he loved nature, but the relationship was different when he was young. He is there with his sister, and encourages her to remember this moment as a comfort in later years.
The poem emphasizes that the memory of true communion with nature works upon the mind even long after the event.
Lines Composed a Few Miles...: What are the three stages of growing up presented in this poem?
- the young boy's pure physical responsiveness
- the postadolescent's aching passions
- the present day, when he is more mature and can appreciate with thought as well as experience/emotion
Preface to Lyrical Ballads: In what edition did the final version of the "Preface" appear?
Preface to Lyrical Ballads: What is the Theory of Poetic Diction?
That poetry should not use elevated language, but should be filled with the type of language really used by common people.