Verse > Anthologies > Francis T. Palgrave, ed. > The Golden Treasury
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Francis T. Palgrave, ed. (1824–1897). The Golden Treasury.  1875.
 
W. Wordsworth
 
CCL. The Reaper
 
BEHOLD her, single in the field, 
Yon solitary Highland Lass! 
Reaping and singing by herself;— 
Stop here, or gently pass! 
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,         5
And sings a melancholy strain; 
O listen! for the vale profound 
Is overflowing with the sound. 
  
No nightingale did ever chaunt 
More welcome notes to weary bands  10
Of travellers in some shady haunt 
Among Arabian sands; 
No sweeter voice was ever heard 
In springtime from the cuckoo-bird, 
Breaking the silence of the seas  15
Among the farthest Hebrides. 
  
Will no one tell me what she sings?— 
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow 
For old, unhappy, far-off things, 
And battles long ago.  20
Or is it some more humble lay, 
Familiar matter of to-day? 
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain, 
That has been, and may be again! 
  
Whate'er the theme, the maiden sang  25
As if her song could have no ending; 
I saw her singing at her work, 
And o'er the sickle bending;— 
I listen'd till I had my fill; 
And, as I mounted up the hill,  30
The music in my heart I bore 
Long after it was heard no more. 
 
 
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