Meaning of The Solitary Reaper by William Wordsworth


Stanza-wise Annotations of The Solitary Reaper:

Stanza 1:

‘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

Stanza 2:

‘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.

Stanza 3:

‘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.

Stanza 4:

‘sickle’- a kind of a curved blade, like a crescent-moon, that is used to cut or reap crops from their stalks.

Download Beamingnotes App

We have published the Beamingnotes App which contains more than 1000s of poem summaries and analysis. Click to download the Beamingnotes Android App and perform well in exams.