NCERT Class 9 Beehive English Poem - A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal

Poem - A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal

Writer of the poem - William Wordsworth
Summary

‘A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal’ is a poem written by William Wordsworth in 1798 and published in 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads. It is one of the five ‘Lucy Poems’, a cluster of elegies about the death of a young girl Lucy (though she remains unnamed in his poem) which bring to Wordsworth the realisation that had things can happen in a beautiful world. In this poem, the poet seems to be immortalising Lucy’s death as he describes and appreciates life beyond death.

The poem is a mere eight lines long, two stanzas. The first stanza reveals the poet’s innocent unawareness about the fact that one day Lucy too would age or meet her death like other human beings. The second stanza deals with her death that has made her motionless, forceless, and without the faculties of sight and hearing.

The opening lines of the poem tells us about the poet himself. ‘A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal’ could mean that the speaker is in some sort of a lethargic state, as if he isn’t living in reality but rather in fantasy. This ‘Slumber’ transports him to a state of unawareness which keeps away all his human fears like a fact that age and death spare none, not even his dear Lucy.

However, the poet soon encounters the hard fact that the young girl has passed away. He does not address the matter directly perhaps because the pain and agony that he is in because of her death his far to overwhelming for him to even mention it in a direct manner. The lines, “No motion has she now, no force”; tell us how she is lying still, how she is now and inanimate thing, with devoid of life.

In this way, the poet subtly implies that she had once been an energetic person, not one to stay put in one place for long. When he writes about her current lack of senses, he also implies that the women might have been one to live fully, using all her senses to enjoy each day. He emphasises how she can no longer enjoy the world through sight and sound by stating that she can no longer see, hear or move; she doesn’t have power.

The last two lines explain how her body her become one with Earth, how she is a part of nature. She is one among other elements of nature like rocks, stones and trees. Her only movement is along with the rolling with the Earth of which she is now an integral part. This movement is seen positively by the poet and he does not feel sad or bitter at the girl’s death. For him, her integration with nature transforms her human form and she continues to live like an inanimate objects of the nature.

Theme: The theme of the poem is the idea of life, death and life after death. The poem, like all Lucy poems, treats the subject of her death. The poet deals with the theme of loss through death and the sorrows that follow. The other theme is the immorality of human soul. William Wordsworth immortalises Lucy by stating that she lives in nature after her physical death. Finally, the third theme is nature. After her death, Lucy has become a part of nature and lives in it.

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