Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Editions can help.
Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Editions can help.

The Solitary Reaper Summary & Analysis
by William Wordsworth

Question about this poem?
Have a question about this poem?
Have a specific question about this poem?
Have a specific question about this poem?
Have a specific question about this poem?
A LitCharts expert can help.
A LitCharts expert can help.
A LitCharts expert can help.
A LitCharts expert can help.
A LitCharts expert can help.
Ask us
Ask us
Ask a question
Ask a question
Ask a question

“The Solitary Reaper” is a poem by the English poet William Wordsworth. The poem was inspired by the poet’s trip to Scotland in 1803 with his sister Dorothy Wordsworth. It was first published in 1807. In the poem, the speaker tries—and fails—to describe the song he heard a young woman singing as she cuts grain in a Scottish field. The speaker does not understand the song, and he cannot tell what it was about. Nor can he find the language to describe its beauty. He finds that the traditional poetic metaphors for a beautiful song fail him. The poem thus calls, implicitly, for a new kind of poetry: one that is better able to approximate and describe the pure, unpretentious beauty of the reaper’s song.

Get
Get
LitCharts
Get the entire guide to “The Solitary Reaper” as a printable PDF.
Download