Lucy poems are a series of poems written by William Wordsworth about the girl named Lucy. She is a described as a laidback beauty that lived in the countryside. Her character is important to the poems because she is the main character in each of the poems, and the poems have to be read together in sequence in order to find out more about her. Nature is one of the themes present in each of the poems; therefore, nature holds a certain degree of significance to the Lucy poems. Majorly, nature assists the poet to develop the plot of each poem as well as develop a connection with the readers. Nature also helps the poet to juxtapose the beauty of the world with the brutality of losing a loved one. Additionally, nature gives the reader a clue about the setting of each poem. The poet also remains true to his character and expresses his love for nature throughout the poems. Therefore, it can be said that nature holds a special place in his heart, and it inspires him to write. Lastly, nature plays a crucial role of developing some literary elements of the Lucy poems.
Lucy poems are a series of poems written by William Wordsworth about a mysterious girl by the name Lucy. Through the poems, the speaker paints the picture of a romantic lover who constantly thinks about this lady. Although not much is revealed about her, it is evident that she is a stunning beauty from the many praises the poet heaps on her. Her life is pretty simple as she lives in the countryside. She plays a significant role in each one of the poems because she is the main character. As one reads through, more is revealed about the narrator’s affection for her and the deep sorrow that he is in now that she is dead. Love seems to be the underlying theme in each of the poems, but the theme of nature cannot be ignored. The use of nature in Lucy poems serves six major purposes: connecting with the readers, developing the plot, juxtaposing the beauty of nature with the cruelty of death, developing the theme of love, bringing out other literary devices in the poems, indicating the setting of the poems and letting the reader know the inspiration behind Wordsworth’s poems.
William Wordsworth uses nature to connect with his audience. The scenic descriptions made by the poet makes it easy for the reader to picture the scenarios that the poet describes. Nature is something that many people can relate with, thus the use of scenes with the nature theme keeps the reader focused. For example, in his poem “strange fits of passion have I known,” the speaker compares the glowing beauty of Lucy with a rose. He writes, “When she I loved look’d every day / Fresh as a rose in June” (4-5). That description makes it easy for the reader to have a mental picture of Lucy’s beauty, which is compared to a shining rose.
The use nature in Lucy poems also enables the poet to build his plot. The nature scenes make it easy for the poet to narrate the story, which keeps the audience glued. For example, in the poem “strange fits of passion have I known,” the speaker uses nature to walk the reader through his journey. He says:
And now we reach’d the orchard-plot;
And, as we climb’d the hill,
The sinking moon to Lucy’s cot
Came near and nearer still. (13-16)
The narration becomes livelier because the speaker talks about reaching the orchard plot, climbing the hill and watching the moon sink. In essence, the picturesque narration brings life to the poem, thus making it easy for the poet to develop the plot in each of the poems.
The skillful use of nature in the Lucy poems juxtaposes the beauty of nature with the cruelty of death. At one point, the speaker gives a vivid description of the beautiful paths that he is taking and later expresses the grief of losing a loved one. The placement of the beauty of the nature side by side with grief is something meant to conjure up strong feelings of emotion. On the one hand, the reader is happy to read on as the speaker tells of the beautiful sceneries that he is going through while at another point the reader is bound to empathize with the speaker for his loss. For example, in the poem “three years she grew in sun and shower,” the speaker by giving a lively description of Lucy, but in the end the speaker talks about her death.
Three years she grew in sun and shower;
Then Nature said, A lovelier flower
How soon my Lucy’s race was run!
She died, and left to me (1-39)
In this poem, the speaker alludes that nature robbed him of his lover. That allegation appears bizarre because people associate nature with calmness, happiness and buoyancy. It makes the reader think deeper about the predicament that could have faced Lucy and the role of nature in her death. The reader is left in suspense and perturbed. However, this could be the poet’s way of saying that wherever there is happiness, grief is also present.
As a romanticist, William Wordsworth uses nature in his poems to build on his theme of love. On the surface of each Lucy poem is the theme of love. However, that theme would be colorless without the use of nature scenes that portray love in the strongest form. For example, he says, “she dwelt among the untrodden ways / Beside the springs of Dove” (She dwelt among the untrodden ways 1-2). He also adds that “When she I loved look’d every day / Fresh as rose in June” (strange fits of passion have I known 5-6). In another poem, he says, “The Nature said, ‘A lovelier flower / On earth was never sown” (Three years she grew in sun and shower 2-3). All these descriptions add authenticity to the poems and make the events narrated by the speaker appear real.
The tactical use of nature in Lucy poems assists the poet in bringing out some of the literary devices in his poems. For example, in the poem “three years she grew in sun and shower,” the poet personifies nature. Personification is the art of giving human qualities to nonliving things. He says, “Then Nature said” (2). In the same poem, the speaker also suggests that nature wanted to adopt Lucy. He says, “ This child I to myself will take / She shall be mine, and I will make / A lady of my own” (3-5). Here, the poet is suggesting that nature has the ability to bring up children in the same manner parents oversee the growth and development of their children. Without the uses of nature, this personification would not be possible.
In Lucy poems, the use of nature is crucial in giving the setting of the poems. For example, in the poem “strange fits of passion have I known,” the events narrated take place in a secluded place in the countryside. This indication is given by the fact that the speaker talks of an “orchard plot” (13), “wide lea” (5), “the hill” (14) and “my horse” (21). The combination of these words also gives an indication that the speaker is living in the post-medieval times when the use of horse as a means of locomotion was common. In the poem “I travelled among unknown men,” the speaker also uses the words “in lands beyond the sea” (2), “among the mountains” (9) and “the bowers” to convey the idea that the setting of the poem is a place far away from the city.
Lastly, the use of nature in the Lucy poems reveals the inspiration behind William Wordsworth’s poetry. Each of the Lucy poems has a line or two about nature. This reveals that the poet felt inspired to write about nature in his poems. It is also a revelation that William Wordsworth is an admirer of the beauty of nature, thus his endless love for it. His description of the nature scenes is graphic indicating that the poet must have fallen in love with nature before giving such a striking description of the nature in his poems. For example, in the poem “three years she grew in sun and shower,” the poet narrates:
‘The stars of midnight shall be dear
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
And beauty born of murmuring sound
Shall pass into her face (25-30)
In strange fits of passion have I known, the scenic description of the mountainous path to Lucy’s cottage is also another dead giveaway that nature inspired the poet to express his feelings.
In conclusion, the Lucy poems use nature scenes to achieve a number of reasons. The One is that the poet uses nature to connect with the audience through giving graphic details. The poet also uses nature to develop his poems. Additionally, the poet uses nature to juxtapose the beauty of nature with the grief of death. The use of nature in Lucy poems also brings out other literary devices used in the poems. Nature also gives the reader an indication of the settings where the poems take place. Lastly, the use of nature reveals that it inspired the poet to express his feelings.
Poetry Archive. Lucy by William Wordsworth . n.d. 24 October 2014 <http://www.poetry-archive.com/w/lucy.html>.