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LONG ANSWER QUESTIONS
Q1. Discuss the effect of the Solitary Reaper's song on the listeners. Why is it compared to the nightingale and the cuckoo?
Ans. The poet describes the solitary reaper's song, filling the deep valleys, sweeter than the voice of a nightingale. It is more welcome than a nightingale's chant heard by weary travellers in the shady haunts of the Arabian desert. It is more thrilling than a cuckoo bird's song which in the spring time can break the silence of the seas. It made the poet stand motionless and still to listen and carry it with him in his heart as he mounted up the hill never to forget it evermore. References to the Arabian sands and Scotland's Hebrides (far-off Islands) impart an exotic feeling.
Q2. Discuss the scenic beauty of the background. How does it highlight the musicality of the song of the solitary reaper?
Ans. The scenic beauty is captured and displayed by the poet in vale profound, overflowing with the sound (the solitary reaper's song), "Weary bands of travellers in some shady haunts among the Arabian sands". Breaking the silence of the seas among the farthest Hebrides.
Q3. What impresses the poet? Why?
Ans. William Wordsworth describes and exemplifies a once in a lifetime kind of memory’ that is meant to be taken out of the storehouse of memory and enjoyed forever. The poet is struck by the beauty and the melody of the mountain girl, working in harmony with her surroundings. The maiden’s song enchants the poet and the melancholy strain makes him wonder at the content of the song. The melody and enchanting quality of her song remind him of the nightingale and the cuckoo but the intensity of her song overflows and reverberates throughout the valley. Whether she was singing about a battle or common sorrows or illness of a loved one, the poet has no idea. The solitary reaper’s song leaves a lasting impression on the poet’s mind and he believes that the memory of this song will be with him forever.
Q4. What message does the poet wish to convey in the poem?
Ans. What impresses the poet in the song is not its content but its emotionally expressive music. This feeling could have no ending and it communicates wordlessly something universal about the human condition. Despite the ‘melancholy strain’, the poet proceeds on his way, his ‘heart’ carrying her music. For that reason, the poem relates to an ‘ecstatic moment’ in which a passer-by transcends the limitations of mortality. Both the song and the poet can go on together. It also expresses the thought that the appeal and music is universal, language is not important.
Q5. Wordsworth had a wonderful experience listening to the highland girl while out for a walk in the countryside. He comes home and pens down his feelings in his diary immediately. Write his diary. [CBSE 2010 (Term I)]
Today, after a long time, I heard a song more melodious than a nightingale and a cuckoo bird. I am so thrilled that I want to pour my feelings into you. The highland lass who I heard singing while climbing the hill was so engrossed in her work of reaping the crop that she was totally oblivious of her surroundings. Although I could not understand the dialect she was singing but from the melancholy notes of her song I was able to gauge that it related to some unhappy memories, or some battles fought long ago. I was so mesmerised and spellbound that I was held motionless and still. But the memory of her song will always remain fresh for me. It has left an indelible mark on my mind. Oh God! it is still resounding in my ears.