How has Wordsworth succeeded in romanticising the woman "The Solitary Reaper"?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Let us first examine the way in which Wordsworth describes the woman that he comes across on one of his walks. Let us remember that a bird which was incredibly important to the Romantics was the nightingale, and Wordsworth deliberately alludes to the nightingale in describing the voice of this woman singing:

No nightingale did ever chaunt

More welcome notes to weary bands

Of travellers in some shady haunt,

Among Arabian sands.

Note how the voice of the woman is superior to the song of the nightingale. It is clear that her voice is part of the way that Wordsworth romanticises her, as he is able to discern what she is singing. He suggests that it is perhaps "unhappy, far off things," but her song somehow captures the essence of eternal "sorrow, loss or pain." Her song is sung as if it has "no ending" and it has a profoundly emotional impact on Wordsworth, who carried the song in his heart "Long after it was heard no more." Wordsworth thus romanticises her by describing her song as if it captured eternal qualities regarding the suffering of mankind.

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