Who were "the weary bands" in "The Solitary Reaper" by William Wordsworth?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Whenever you are trying to establish the meaning in a particular phrase of group of words in a poem or text, it is vital to read both before and after the given section to see what contextual clues are offered to help us understand what is being talked about. The "weary bands" that your question refers to actually appear in the second stanza and refer to a comparison that the speaker is making between the sound of the reaper's song and how welcome it is and how welcome the song of a nightingale would be for a group of travellers voyaging through the desert. Note what the second stanza says:

No nightingale did ever chaunt

More welcome notes to weary bands

Of travellers in some shady haunt,

Among Arabian sands...

Thus the precise identity of the "weary bands" is unimportant. Their importance lies in the comparison that the speaker is creating, which reinforces the beauty and comfort that the song that the reaper is singing brings him.

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