Context of She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways: The sonnet, “She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways” is a part of William Wordsworth collection of poems on his maid, named “Lucy”. The theme of the poem and the entire book is the description of Lucy, about her nature and her beauty. Wordsworth uses beautiful metaphors of some rarest and beautiful characteristics of nature to describe his maid whom he admires. He wants to show the solitude and distant nature of Lucy and how she is most of the times is not noticed by people around her.
This poem has some intricate imagery of nature, again those which are hardly noticed by anyone, to compliment the nature and beauty of Lucy. Metaphors like “springs of Dove”, and “violet by a mossy stone” are some of the intricate ones which we generally do not come across in much of the poems. These metaphors help us understand the uniqueness and expression of the poet towards her. By the end of the poem, Wordsworth speaks about the sad demise of Lucy’s death, which has left the poet sad and depressed, but the rest are still unaffected by her absence.
Rhyme Scheme and Style: Wordsworth follows a definite style and rhyme scheme for all his poems. They all have a rhyme scheme of a b a b in all the poems, and which is seen in this poem as well. For example, in the first stanza:
She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
A Maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love:
The poem has some beautiful imagery of nature in it. The metaphors used to describe the nature and characteristics of Lucy, her shyness, her beauty, her distant nature, etc. is beautifully described with some beautiful metaphors taken from nature. This is dominant in all the poems of Romantic poets, where they build a beautiful image of the characters or the subject in focus. The poet speaks about the death of the maid using beautiful metaphors which add a sense of loneliness and emptiness to it.
In the poem, the poet uses some words starting with upper casing, which he wants the reads to emphasise on and understand the importance of the words in the context. For example, the second line of first stanza, the word Dove tries to show the peaceful and gentle character of Lucy, describing her calm and silent nature.
Theme She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways: The theme of this poem is the description of the character and nature of Wordsworth’s maid, Lucy, who has intrigues the poet with her gentle character and beauty. But as she is just a maid, and no one important in the society, her beauty and charm is often is unseen by others, and she is distant from the society and its people. Her presence hardly leaves any impact on anyone else, other than the poet, and her absence didn’t leave anyone in any kind of loss or sadness. The metaphors used in this poem bring another level of imagery to the poem and brings out the expressions of the poet in a beautiful way. The poem is one amongst the collection of Wordsworth poems collaborated in a book named, Lucy, where he has written poems about her beauty, her charm, and her calm and composed nature.
Imagery and Symbolism in She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways: This poem is a perfect example of a romantic poem, as the poet has beautifully written about the kindness and beauty of Lucy using the elements of some hardly used terms from nature to express her character and beauty. The poet has used element of nature, which are perfect symbols of gentle and kind characteristics, which Lucy possessed. For example:
A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye!
—Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.
The poet has used terms like the “mossy” to express the softness and beauty of Lucy’s nature, and the beauty of her character. The poet has used the terms which are dual metaphors, and are symbolic to the character of the maid. Here, the term “star” is used to show the beauty and radiance of Lucy, but is also symbolic to her distant nature; where she is out of reach from the common people.
The poet has brought some beautiful examples from the nature to draw an image of Lucy, who is fair, radiant, and beautiful, at the same time is hidden from the sight of the common people. Her brilliance is often unseen as she is not anyone important, but just a maid who worked for the poet.
Deep Meaning: The deep meaning of the poem is about the calm and composed nature of Lucy, which has been brought out with beautiful metaphors and description. The expression of the poet comes out in the selection of words and the context behind it, which rightly describes the characteristics of Lucy in this poem. Read more: She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways Summary
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