What does Wordsworth wish to imply by the words "feels its life in every limb?"

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In the first stanza of "We Are Seven," a stanza composed by Samuel Coleridge and added to William Wordsworth's poem, Wordsworth and Coleridge seek to draw a contrast between the little girl's siblings who have passed away and the little girl herself. The living child, the eight-year-old "cottage Girl," is able to run around actively, playing and interacting with others in physical form. The narrator in the poem feels the need to point this difference out to the child in stanza 9: 

“You run about, my little Maid, 
Your limbs they are alive; 
If two are in the church-yard laid, 
Then ye are only five.” 
 
It befuddles the narrator that the girl speaks of her brother and sister who are buried in the churchyard as if they are still part of her family. He seeks to impart reality to the girl by telling her that she is different from her dead siblings in that she can use her arms and legs. In the first stanza, the poem also points out that such a child "lightly draws its breath." A living, breathing child with active limbs should not really be able to understand death, the poet suggests. Such a weighty issue is hard enough for adults to grapple with. The poet seems content in the end to let the little girl "have her will" and go on living with her simple and sweet understanding of life, death, and family relationships.

 

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