How does the poem "The Solitary Reaper" reflect Wordsworth’s views on nature and man?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"The Solitary Reaper" reflects William Wordsworth's view that poetry should deal with common people and ordinary experiences, many of which are in communion with nature.

Certainly, the Romantic idealization of rural life is present in this poem in which the Scottish lass sings in Erse [Scottish Gaelic] as she bends over her sickle in a sweet voice whose melancholic strains touch the speaker. Even though he does not understand the words, the speaker is touched by the emotion her song conveys,

The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

Wordsworth's theme of the reverence for nature and the place of the individual in it is evinced in this lyrical ballad in which the girl is "Reaping and Singing." Further, his belief that poetry recalls the emotions of earlier experiences that can be shared anew in the delightful moment of an occasion in nature is certainly apparent as the speaker alludes to "Arabian sands," "Hebrides," and "battles long ago." Also, Wordsworth's association of the plaintive loveliness of the reaper's song with the cuckoo, a well-known image of transcendence in Romantic poetry, is indicative of his characteristic views.