“A slumber did my spirit seal” is written by William Wordsworth in 1798 and published in the 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads.This poem is a part of his series of The Lucy poems, although it is the only poem of the series not to mention her name. The poem is a mere eight lines long. During the autumn of 1798, Wordsworth travelled to Germany with his sister Dorothy and fellow poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
The poet realized the ultimate truth of life. Every life begins and ends someday. He finds out that life and death are the ultimate truth. He compares her to the trees or rocks as she will not be able to touch or talk to him anymore. When he lost Lucy, his love, he understood what life meant for him. Before that, he took everything for granted and did not pay any heed to what he had. When Lucy passed away, he was not able to accept it. It made him go to deep sleep as if he wants to stay away from the harsh reality of life. He knew that Lucy cannot hear his pain as she was deep down buried under the earth lifelessly.
The Lucy poems fall within a genre of poems that includes Robert Herrick’s lamentations on the death of young girls. Written in spare language, “A slumber…” consists of two stanzas, each four lines. The first is built upon an even, soporific movement in which figurative language conveys the nebulous image of a girl.
The second stanza maintains the quiet, even tone, but serves to undermine the former’s sense of the eternal by revealing that Lucy has died. The narrator’s response to her death lacks bitterness or emptiness. And instead takes consolation from the fact that she is now beyond life’s trials.
A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:
She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.
No motion has she now, no force;
She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees.
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