Thursday, June 12, 2014

Poem of the Day: "Strange fits of passion have I known" by William Wordsworth, Poet of the Month

The Songs of Eretz Poem of the Day for June 12, 2014 is "Strange fits of passion have I known" by William Wordsworth, Poet of the Month.  Information about the Songs of Eretz Poet of the Month feature as well as a biographical essay about William Wordsworth may be found here:  http://www.eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2014/06/songs-of-eretz-poetry-review-poet-of.html.

Strange fits of passion have I known

William Wordsworth

Strange fits of passion have I known:
And I will dare to tell,
But in the Lover's ear alone,
What once to me befell.

When she I loved looked every day
Fresh as a rose in June,
I to her cottage bent my way,
Beneath an evening-moon.

Upon the moon I fixed my eye,
All over the wide lea;
With quickening pace my horse drew nigh
Those paths so dear to me.

And now we reached the orchard-plot;
And, as we climbed the hill,
The sinking moon to Lucy's cot
Came near, and nearer still.

In one of those sweet dreams I slept,
Kind Nature's gentlest boon!
And all the while my eyes I kept
On the descending moon.

My horse moved on; hoof after hoof
He raised, and never stopped:
When down behind the cottage roof,
At once, the bright moon dropped.

What fond and wayward thoughts will slide
Into a Lover's head!
"O mercy!" to myself I cried,
"If Lucy should be dead!"

"Strange fits of passion have I known" is one of Wordsworth's "Lucy" poems.  Other "Lucy" poems that have been featured in the Review include:  "She dwelt among the untrodden ways" http://www.eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2014/06/poem-of-day-she-dwelt-among-untrodden.html, and "A slumber did my spirit seal http://eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2014/06/poem-of-day-slumber-did-my-spirit-seal.html.

Typical of the ballads of Wordsworth that have been examined in the Review, "Strange fits of passion have I known" is presented in rhyming iambic tetrameter with a foot omitted from every even line for emphasis.  This particular ballad is not Wordsworth's strongest work.  He describes his lover as "fresh as a rose in June" and then proceeds to rhyme "June" with "moon."  Even in Wordsworth's day, such turns of phrase would have been considered to be tired clich├ęs.

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