She was a Phantom of Delight: Summary and Analysis

William Wordsworth is one of the best-known English poets of the Romantic era, a period where poetry was about the personification of nature, and a new movement of aesthetics was evolved. John Wordsworth is known for some of his best poems, like Daffodils. In this analysis, I will look at his poem written for his beloved wife, as he describes her qualities as he sees through his eyes. I hope you’ll enjoy reading: She Was A Phantom of Delight: Summary and Analysis!

She Was A Phantom of Delight: Summary

“She was a Phantom of delight

When first she gleamed upon my sight;

A lovely Apparition, sent

To be a moment’s ornament;

Her eyes as stars of Twilight fair;

Like Twilight’s, too, her dusky hair;

But all things else about her drawn

From May-time and the cheerful Dawn;

A dancing Shape, an Image gay,

To haunt, to startle, and way-lay.

I saw her upon nearer view,

A Spirit, yet a Woman too!”

In these lines, the poet is speaking about his wife and when he first saw her. He says that he found her to be unbelievably delightful. He found her so lovely that he thought that she had been sent to make him proud of her beauty and charms even for a short period of time. He says that her eyes are beautiful as two stars sparkling in the twilight. And her hair is dark and beautiful as the sky of the twilight night. He says that nature might have collected everything beautifully from the spring seasons and cheerful mornings to create her. Her shape is of a graceful dancer, and her image is always there in the poet’s mind, which sometimes surprises him and sometimes frightens him. Her thought disturbs the poet everywhere he goes. In the last line, he calls her a “Spirit” since she haunts him in his thought, but she is yet a woman.

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“Her household motions light and free,

And steps of virgin liberty;

A countenance in which did meet

Sweet records, promises as sweet;

A Creature not too bright or good

For human nature’s daily food;

For transient sorrows, simple wiles,

Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.”

The poet speaks about his wife, who is mesmerized by her movement around the house, how freely she moves across the house and how graceful her movements are. He says that the freedom of her movement in the house shows that she was still a virgin. The poet says that when he looks at her face, he remembers her sweet promises. She was an ordinary woman, who is not very bright or witty, but she is a woman who would inspire a poet. She had moderate feelings like other people have: sorrows, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.

“And now I see with eye serene

The very pulse of the machine;

A Being breathing thoughtful breath,

A Traveller between life and death;

The reason firm, the temperate will,

Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill;

A perfect Woman, nobly planned,

To warn, to comfort, and command;

And yet a Spirit still, and bright

With something of angelic light.”

In these lines, the poet says that he is watching her calmly, and by that, he could feel the pulses of her body, of her whole being. He finds all of their actions reasonable, as her interests are divided into spiritual and worldly things. She is a person who could argue reasonably with anyone, and all her desires were not excessive, rather much mild. Wordsworth believes that God has created her in a grand way. She is a woman who was wise enough to tolerate unpleasant things in her life. But in spite of all, she still looked like a spirit because of her resonating and bright, beautiful light.

She Was A Phantom of Delight: Analysis

The poem is about William Wordsworth’s wife, where he writes about her beauty and how much he is mesmerized by her grace. He depicts three stages of his relationship with her in this poem. The one stage is getting to know her before marriage and is mesmerized by her beauty. The other one is where he is married to her and feels lucky to have her in his life, and the third one is where he is spending his life with her, knows her so closely, and is yet mesmerized by her charm, beauty, and behavior. He calls his wife an angel and a spirit, as he wants to establish that her charms are unearthly, which is not seen in the common or ordinary women. He describes intricate details of her behavior, even the smallest thing that he likes about her, which leaves him happy about having her in his life. He describes how there is a different charm in the way she carries out the most mundane jobs and leaves an imprint in the poet’s mind. She is a good housewife, and she works hard to do all her household work. The poet is in deep love with his wife.

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She Was A Phantom of Delight: Structure

The rhyme scheme followed in this poem is AABBCCDDEE. There are ten lines in each stanza. There is heavy use of similes and metaphors in this poem. For example:

“A phantom of delight,”

“a lovely apparition,” “the machine,” and “a traveler between life and

death” are the metaphors used here and “her eyes as stars of twilight fair,

like twilight’s too,

her dusky hair” are the similes that have been used here. Wordsworth uses metaphors to describe the beautiful characteristics and her charms. He writes to express his love and affection towards his wife. He uses the words “Phantom” and “spirit” to show her unachievable beauty and charm that has left him mesmerized and happy. He gives a metaphysical touch to describe her by calling her an “apparition.” He balances the poem by selecting words that would give a metaphysical touch to a human and a human touch to something heavenly.

She Was A Phantom of Delight: Theme

This is a romantic poem written by William Wordsworth about his wife, where he tries to express her beauty, charm, and eternal love to her, and how he is mesmerized by her effortless grace. He is happy that he has known her, and he feels that God has made her with all the grace and blessings to make him proud in his life. He is happy with his wife, and he is often left in awe by his wife and the way she lives. He says that his wife is not very intelligent, but she can argue reasonably. She knows to work hard on her housework and keep her husband happy. When the poet looks at her face, he feels happy. He says that his wife is like a haunting spirit, of whose memories he cannot keep out of his head. She can be firm when it is needed and gentle when the moment calls for it. She can be angelic and serene for something and tough in the other moment. He is pleased to meet his wife, and he is proud of her.

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She Was A Phantom of Delight: Deep Meaning

The deeper meaning of this poem is that William Wordsworth loves his wife and has loved her since the moment he saw her. She is angelic and serene but also very firm. She keeps him happy, and he can never take her out of his mind. I hope you enjoyed reading She was a Phantom of Delight Summary and Analysis.