She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
Maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love:

A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye!
—Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.

She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me!

-William Wordsworth


William Wordsworth is known for his poems on nature and love. “She dwelt among the untrodden ways” celebrates a young woman’s beauty by comparing to that of nature’s magnificence. The structure of the poem is cynical. The short elegiac poem begins with appreciation and ends in mourning. The poem is written with an economy of words so as to apprehend the simplicity of Lucy.

Here ‘she’ is Lucy. She lived in the freedom of rural life. The place she lives is not frequently visited by people, there are not many people to praise her beauty. The word ‘springs’ associate her with freshness and vitality like that of a consistently flowing river.

Like a beautiful violet flower living in the untrodden countryside (mossy stone). Her face shines brighter than a star, appealing and intriguing.

She lived far off, and no one knew her. Hardly did anyone know when Lucy died. But, she is now at peace in the grave. Though her death doesn’t bring a change in others’ lives, it brings a big difference to him as he loved her passionately.

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