illustrated portrait of English poet WIlliam Wordsworth

William Wordsworth

Start Free Trial

If you had to compare a modern song with Wordsworth's Lucy Gray poem for a homework assignment, creating a sort of bridge between two times which song would you choose and why? 

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Any song that could be chosen to create a link between Lucy Gray by Wordsworth and the modern era needs to be reflective, somber and even perhaps tinged with regret. However, it does depend on who the song is directed at; whether the parents or the child.

From the child's perspective, What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong would be a possible choice. Whilst not modern in the context of 2013, it is modern in the Wordsworth context, Lucy Gray having been written in 1799 and published in Wordsworth's Lyrical Ballads. Louis Armstrong's song is wistful and hopeful and as Lucy Gray's footsteps do not reveal her whereabouts nor her death as "she trips along, And never looks behind," the reader can search for possibilities and consider the beauty and simplicity of nature which fits with Wordsworth's own passion for nature. 

Another more modern possibility is Secret Garden's Song for a Stormy Night. The girl can no longer feel "the cold wind blow You are sleeping so deep..." She is safe from harm but it is also as if Lucy Gray could be "wrapped up" in this song. watching over her parents or they over her. This reveals that, no matter how many hundreds of years pass, the similarities between how families protect each other and yearn for a better time, remain the same. Nature continues to wreak havoc in lives and the connection is further established between how modern song writers use their experiences of nature and their understanding of poetry and literature when writing their songs.

Adele is a popular artist and her song, Chasing Pavements is another possible choice. "Should I give up....even if it leads nowhere"  is a decision she cannot make - such is the chorus of the song. Music allows young readers or listeners to understand text they must otherwise interpret as they put it into the context of their own life and environment. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team