What does the speaker of "To a Butterfly" imagine the flower might do?

In the poem "To a Butterfly" by William Wordsworth, the speaker imagines that the flower will serve as a resting place and a sanctuary for the butterfly so that he and his sister can observe it.

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The poet William Wordsworth wrote two versions of "To a Butterfly " in 1802. In these poems, he evokes bright childhood memories of pleasant times when he and his sister Dorothy would play together outdoors. In one version, in which he refers to Dorothy as "Emmeline," he recalls the...

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The poet William Wordsworth wrote two versions of "To a Butterfly" in 1802. In these poems, he evokes bright childhood memories of pleasant times when he and his sister Dorothy would play together outdoors. In one version, in which he refers to Dorothy as "Emmeline," he recalls the butterfly as a "solemn image" and a "historian of my infancy." He compares his own attitude as "a very hunter" with his sister's attitude of such gentle care that she "feared to brush the dust from off its wings." He writes this from the perspective of adulthood, and his memories are bittersweet in a sense because shortly after this carefree time, Wordsworth's mother died, and he and Dorothy were separated for a number of years.

The second version of the poem begins with the butterfly "self-poised upon that yellow flower." It remains absolutely motionless for a period of time so that the poet can observe it, although he expects that soon the breeze will blow and once again impel the butterfly to take flight.

In the second stanza of this version of the poem, Wordsworth, the speaker, imagines that the flower will serve as a safe place for the butterfly, where it can rest when it comes to visit him and his sister. He urges the butterfly to "here rest your wings when they are weary" and "lodge as in a sanctuary." He hopes that using the flower as a resting place, the butterfly can "come often," "fear no wrong," and "sit near."

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