Stanza-wise Annotations of The Solitary Reaper:
‘Behold’- to see
‘Yon’- a dialectical adjective. It refers to something that is distant yet within sight.
‘Highland Lass’- Highlands are plateau like structures. But here, it refers to the Scottish Highlands. ‘Lass’ typically means a young girl or a maiden. The poem is probably set in Scotland.
‘strain’- tune; melodies
‘chaunt’- archaic way of saying ‘chant’
‘weary’- tired; exhausted
‘shady haunt’- a shady nook or place of repose
‘Hebrides’- an archipelago situated off the northwestern coast of Scotland.
‘plaintive numbers’- melancholy tunes
‘humble lay’- humble generally means down-to-earth and a ‘lay’ is an archaic name for a song. Here, humble lay means the subject of the song sung by the solitary reaper is perhaps of an ordinary nature.
‘sickle’- a kind of a curved blade, like a crescent-moon, that is used to cut or reap crops from their stalks.
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