What is the subject matter of the poem, "The Solitary Reaper" by William Wordsworth?  

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William Wordsworth's "The Solitary Reaper" is a pastoral , a poem that describes country life.  Wordsworth depicts a girl in the Highlands of Scotland as she stands alone in a field, harvesting grain.  Her solitude is emphasized by her singing of a "melancholy strain."  Isolated from society, the girl...

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William Wordsworth's "The Solitary Reaper" is a pastoral, a poem that describes country life.  Wordsworth depicts a girl in the Highlands of Scotland as she stands alone in a field, harvesting grain.  Her solitude is emphasized by her singing of a "melancholy strain."  Isolated from society, the girl is tied intimately to the earth; as the girl sings and the melody fills the lonely valley, she virtually becomes submerged in nature.

Transfixed by the melody, which seems to traverse all time and space; the speaker associates the girl's voice with birds and thinks that hers is sweeter.  For a time, in the third stanza, the speaker transcends his existence as he, too, is meditative and one with nature.  This transcendence is typically Wordsworth, who felt that the mind was the main "haunt and region of [his] song."  Thus, the tension between the objective describer of the natural scene and the subjective shaper of sensory experience is at the heart of this poem. 

Finally, in the fourth stanza he abruptly shifts his attention to the scene before him of the reaper.  As he mounts the hill, the transcendent is past, and his observations are again objective:

What'er the theme the Maiden sang,...

I saw her singing at her work,

but the speaker bears "the music in my heart" long after he hears it.

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