After reading the given stanza, discuss the pictures that come to your mind. "alone she cuts, and binds the grain  and sings a melancholy strain: O listen! for the vale profound  Is...

After reading the given stanza, discuss the pictures that come to your mind.

"alone she cuts, and binds the grain 

and sings a melancholy strain:

O listen! for the vale profound 

Is overflowing with the sound."

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The mental images that Wordsworth wishes to construct in the reader's mind revolves around the single figure in a vast field, singing her song.  One can almost see the immensity of the field and how the woman seems to be simultaneously dwarfed by it as well as rising above it.  She is doing her duty, in a solitary condition. The only companionship she experiences is the presence of her song. The small song that she sings "is overflowing with the sound."  This helps to construct the mental picture of the song filling the air with sound, piercing the otherwise silence of the condition that is around her.

The pictures that Wordsworth wants the reader to generate in their mind revolve around the moment.  He constructs the present to be a vision of the eternal present tense.  It is one that lingers in the mind, helping the reader to be both a part of the moment and outside of it. It is difficult to recreate an experience, an instant in time.  Through his picture of the woman, how "alone" she is when she "cuts, and binds the grain," and the accompaniment of the song that both pierces the silence and fills it, Wordsworth seeks to develop the image of a photograph in the mind.  Like the song, it pierces the emptiness of the mind, and fills it at the same time.

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The image that comes to mind after reading the first stanza is a lone woman cutting a crop in the highlands of Scotland. She is alone in a field and is cutting a grain, perhaps rye, and tying the sheaves of the grain together into a bundle. While she steadily works, she sings a song that is sad in tone. It could be a song in Gaelic, as she's in Scotland, and it's filled with sadness. The sound of her singing carries across the vale, or deep valley. The overall picture that comes to mind is a young woman, dressed simply in homemade clothing, who is leaning into the grass and cutting with a long, sharp knife and binding bundles of grass with another piece of grass. By herself, she sings a lovely, mournful song with abandon, and the song carries across the beautiful valley to its very edges. The effect is haunting.