'Simon Lee, The Old Huntsman' by William Wordsworth
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In the sweet shire of Cardigan,
Not far from pleasant Ivor-hall,
An old Man dwells, a little man,--
'Tis said he once was tall.
Full five-and-thirty years he lived
A running huntsman merry;
And still the centre of his cheek
Is red as a ripe cherry.
No man like him the horn could sound,
And hill and valley rang with glee
When Echo bandied, round and round,
The halloo of Simon Lee.
In those proud days, he little cared
For husbandry or tillage;
To blither tasks did Simon rouse
The sleepers of the village.
He all the country could outrun,
Could leave both man and horse behind;
And often, ere the chase was done,
He reeled, and was stone-blind.
And still there's something in the world
At which his heart rejoices;
For when the chiming hounds are out,
He dearly loves their voices!
But, oh the heavy change!--bereft
Of health, strength, friends, and kindred, see!
Old Simon to the world is left
In liveried poverty.
His Master's dead,--and no one now
Dwells in the Hall of Ivor;
Men, dogs, and horses, all are dead;
He is the sole survivor.
And he is lean and he is sick;
His body, dwindled and awry,
Rests upon ankles swoln and thick;
His legs are thin and dry.
One prop he has, and only one,
His wife, an aged woman,
Lives with him, near the waterfall,
Upon the village Common.
Beside their moss-grown hut of clay,
Not twenty paces from the door,
A scrap of land they have, but they
Are poorest of the poor.
This scrap of land he from the heath
Enclosed when he was stronger;
But what to them avails the land
Which he can till no longer?
Oft, working by her Husband's side,
Ruth does what Simon cannot do;
For she, with scanty cause for pride,
Is stouter of the two.
And, though you with your utmost skill
From labour could not wean them,
'Tis little, very little--all
That they can do between them.
Few months of life has he in store
As he to you will tell,
For still, the more he works, the more
Do his weak ankles swell.
My gentle Reader, I perceive
How patiently you've waited,
And now I fear that you expect
Some tale will be related.
O Reader! had you in your mind
Such stores as silent thought can bring,
O gentle Reader! you would find
A tale in every thing.
What more I have to say is short,
And you must kindly take it:
It is no tale; but, should you think,
Perhaps a tale you'll make it.
One summer-day I chanced to see
This old Man doing all he could
To unearth the root of an old tree,
A stump of rotten wood.
The mattock tottered in his hand;
So vain was his endeavour,
That at the root of the old tree
He might have worked for ever.
"You're overtasked, good Simon Lee,
Give me your tool," to him I said;
And at the word right gladly he
Received my proffered aid.
I struck, and with a single blow
The tangled root I severed,
At which the poor old Man so long
And vainly had endeavoured.
The tears into his eyes were brought,
And thanks and praises seemed to run
So fast out of his heart, I thought
They never would have done.
--I've heard of hearts unkind, kind deeds
With coldness still returning;
Alas! the gratitude of men
Hath oftener left me mourning.
Editor 1 Interpretation
The Timeless Beauty of William Wordsworth's "Simon Lee, The Old Huntsman"
William Wordsworth's "Simon Lee, The Old Huntsman" is a timeless masterpiece of poetry that has captured the hearts of readers for centuries. Written in 1798, the poem tells the story of Simon Lee, a former huntsman who has fallen on hard times and struggles to make a living in his old age. With its beautiful imagery and poignant message, "Simon Lee, The Old Huntsman" is a testament to the power of poetry to move us and inspire us.
William Wordsworth was a major figure in the Romantic movement in English literature, which flourished in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Romantics were known for their emphasis on emotion and imagination, as well as their fascination with nature and the natural world.
"Simon Lee, The Old Huntsman" was first published in Lyrical Ballads, a collection of poetry co-authored by Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The collection, which was published in 1798, is considered a landmark in English literature for its innovative use of language and its focus on everyday life and ordinary people.
The poem tells the story of Simon Lee, a former huntsman who has fallen on hard times. Simon is now old and injured, and he struggles to make a living. The poem explores his struggles and his relationship with the natural world.
"Simon Lee, The Old Huntsman" is a beautifully crafted poem that is rich in imagery and emotion. Wordsworth uses vivid descriptions of the natural world to create a sense of atmosphere and mood. For example, in the opening stanza, he describes the "purple heath and golden broom" that surround Simon's cottage, creating a sense of peace and tranquility.
The poem is also notable for its use of language. Wordsworth's writing is simple and direct, yet it is also rich in meaning and symbolism. For example, when Simon is described as "leaning his head upon his hand," it creates a sense of weariness and exhaustion that is a powerful reflection of his struggles.
The poem is also notable for its depiction of Simon's relationship with nature. Throughout the poem, Simon is shown to be intimately connected to the natural world. He is described as "the man who had been used to roam," and his knowledge of nature is portrayed as a source of comfort and solace.
However, the poem also reveals a darker side to Simon's relationship with nature. In the fourth stanza, Simon is described as "feeling the cold upon his wasted limbs," a reminder of the harsh realities of life in the natural world. This contrast between the beauty and the harshness of nature is a recurring theme in the poem.
Another major theme in the poem is the idea of aging and mortality. Simon is portrayed as an old man who has lost much of his strength and vitality. The poem is a powerful reflection on the passage of time and the inevitability of death.
"Simon Lee, The Old Huntsman" can be interpreted in many different ways, but one of the most common interpretations is that it is a reflection on the human condition. The poem explores the struggles of an ordinary man who has fallen on hard times, and it offers a powerful reflection on the human experience.
One interpretation of the poem is that it is a commentary on the harshness of life in the natural world. Simon is shown to be intimately connected to nature, yet he is also painfully aware of its harsh realities. This contrast between the beauty and the harshness of nature is a powerful reflection on the human experience.
Another interpretation of the poem is that it is a reflection on the passage of time and the inevitability of death. Simon is portrayed as an old man who has lost much of his strength and vitality, and the poem is a powerful reminder that we all grow old and eventually die.
Yet another interpretation of the poem is that it is a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit. Despite his struggles, Simon remains connected to the natural world and finds comfort and solace in his knowledge of it. This resilience is a powerful reminder of the human capacity to endure and overcome adversity.
In conclusion, "Simon Lee, The Old Huntsman" is a timeless masterpiece of poetry that has captured the hearts of readers for centuries. With its beautiful imagery and poignant message, the poem is a testament to the power of poetry to move us and inspire us. Whether interpreted as a commentary on the harshness of life in the natural world, a reflection on the passage of time and the inevitability of death, or a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit, "Simon Lee, The Old Huntsman" is a powerful and moving work of art that continues to resonate with readers today.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
William Wordsworth's "Simon Lee, The Old Huntsman" is a classic poem that captures the essence of the Romantic era. The poem is a tribute to Simon Lee, an old huntsman who had fallen on hard times. Wordsworth's poem is a beautiful and moving tribute to the dignity and resilience of the human spirit.
The poem is written in the first person, and the speaker is Wordsworth himself. The poem begins with Wordsworth describing Simon Lee's physical appearance. He is old and frail, and his body is bent with age. However, despite his physical limitations, Simon Lee is still a proud and dignified man.
Wordsworth then goes on to describe Simon Lee's life. He was once a great huntsman, but now he is too old to hunt. He has lost his job and his home, and he is forced to live in poverty. Despite his hardships, Simon Lee remains optimistic and hopeful. He is a man of great character and strength.
The poem then takes a turn, and Wordsworth begins to describe his own feelings about Simon Lee. He is moved by Simon Lee's plight, and he feels a deep sense of compassion for him. Wordsworth realizes that he has much to learn from Simon Lee, and he begins to see him as a mentor and a role model.
Wordsworth then goes on to describe a scene in which he and Simon Lee are walking together. Simon Lee is struggling to keep up, but he is determined to show Wordsworth something. They come to a stream, and Simon Lee begins to tell a story about his youth. He tells Wordsworth about a time when he was a young huntsman, and he had to cross the stream to catch a fox. Simon Lee had fallen into the stream, and he had almost drowned. However, he had managed to pull himself out of the water and catch the fox. The story is a testament to Simon Lee's strength and resilience.
Wordsworth is deeply moved by Simon Lee's story, and he realizes that he has much to learn from him. He begins to see Simon Lee as a symbol of the human spirit, and he is inspired by his courage and determination.
The poem ends with Wordsworth reflecting on his own life. He realizes that he has much to be grateful for, and he is humbled by Simon Lee's example. He vows to live his life with the same courage and determination as Simon Lee, and he is grateful for the lessons that he has learned from him.
In conclusion, "Simon Lee, The Old Huntsman" is a beautiful and moving tribute to the human spirit. Wordsworth's poem is a testament to the resilience and strength of the human spirit, and it is a reminder that even in the face of adversity, we can find hope and inspiration. The poem is a classic example of Romantic literature, and it is a must-read for anyone who loves poetry.
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