A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal Poem Summary & Line by Line Explanation


The poem is one of the five Lucy Poems written by Wordsworth. It is a short ballad with having abab rhyme scheme. The poem was written in 1798 and published in 1800. It describes and appreciates life beyond death.

Wordsworth had experienced some harsh realities of life like the French Revolution, the War between France and England, etc; hence this poem holds the spirit of Escapism from the city life to the elemental nature which, for the poet, is an ideal place.

Stanza 1

A slumber did my spirit seal;
I had no human fears:

In the 1st line, the poet says that he has put to rest his conscience and thus has no ‘human fears’.  ‘Human Fears’ means the fear of losing property, belongings, and life. Now having given up all such things that give birth to human fears, he has now attained peace in nature.

Stanza 2

She seemed a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.

In the 3rd line, he talks about Lucy, who is, according to the poet, beyond sensual awareness i.e. beyond the prison of life and has attained death.

She does not feel the earthly time and earthly years have become timeless for her. Thus she is immortal now and it is Lucy because of whom he has attained fearlessness from the earthly fears.

Stanza 3

She neither hears nor sees;
Rolled round in earth's diurnal course,
With rocks, and stones, and trees.

Being immortal, she has no movement and energy. She neither does hear something nor sees. She has now become part of the earth and is rolling with it as it turns from day to night and vice versa.

She is in her grave, covered with soil, having an epitaph and is under the shade of the tree. Thus, the poet considers her to be in the lap of nature which is an ideal place.

By narrating the story of immortal Lucy, he appreciates the fearlessness from death which is the root cause of all the human sorrows and worries. He considers death to be something worth attaining.

He desires that he should attain the same peace as attained by Lucy after becoming part of nature. He desires to become a part of nature and for becoming so, death is a must. Thus he holds the spirit of Romanticism, of which desire for death was a feature.

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