Resolution and Independence poem by William Wordsworth summary line by line

Resolution and Independence poem by William Wordsworth summary line by line

Resolution and Independence poem by William Wordsworth summary line by line-Resolution and Independence, a poem penned by William Wordsworth, delves into the enduring themes of determination, resilience, and the profound influence of nature. Opening amidst the speaker's wanderings through the natural landscape, burdened by the trials of life and feeling despondent, the narrative takes a significant turn upon encountering an elderly man engaged in the collection of leeches within a marshy terrain.

Resolution and Independence poem by William Wordsworth summary line by line

Despite the old man's impoverished circumstances, his steadfast resolve and unwavering perseverance in his labor serve as a stark contrast. This encounter prompts a profound reassessment of the speaker's perspective, fostering a newfound appreciation for the unyielding human spirit and the transformative potency inherent within nature's realm. 

Resolution and Independence poem by William Wordsworth summary line by line-Thus, the poem's introduction sets the stage for a poignant exploration of these enduring themes, illuminating the resilience found amidst adversity and the profound impact of the natural world upon the human condition.

Resolution and Independence poem summary line by line

"There was a roaring in the wind all night": The speaker describes the tumultuous weather during the night.

"The rain came heavily and fell in floods": The rain poured down heavily, causing floods.

"But now the sun is rising calm and bright": Despite the stormy night, the morning brings a calm and bright sunrise.

"The birds are singing in the distant woods": The birds are chirping happily in the woods.

"Over his own sweet voice the Stock-dove broods": The Stock-dove's soothing cooing is heard over the speaker's voice.

"The Jay makes answer as the Magpie chatters": Other birds, like the Jay and Magpie, join in with their own sounds.


"And all the air is filled with pleasant noise of waters": The sounds of flowing water add to the pleasant atmosphere.

"All things that love the sun are out of doors": Creatures that enjoy the sunshine are active and outdoors.

"The sky rejoices in the morning's birth": The sky is bright and cheerful with the dawn of a new day.

"The grass is bright with rain-drops;—on the moors": The grass glistens with raindrops, especially on the moors.

"The hare is running races in her mirth": The hare is joyfully running races, expressing her happiness.

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"And with her feet she from the plashy earth": As the hare runs, she kicks up water from the wet ground.

"Raises a mist, that, glittering in the sun": The water kicked up by the hare creates a mist that shines in the sunlight.

"Runs with her all the way, wherever she doth run": The mist follows the hare as she runs.

"I was a Traveller then upon the moor": The speaker reveals that they were traveling on the moor during this scene.

"I saw the hare that raced about with joy": The speaker observed the hare running happily.

"I heard the woods and distant waters roar": The speaker also heard the roar of the woods and distant waters.

"Or heard them not, as happy as a boy": The speaker was so content that they may not have noticed these sounds.

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"The pleasant season did my heart employ": The delightful season engaged the speaker's heart.

"My old remembrances went from me wholly": The speaker's thoughts were entirely consumed by the present moment, leaving behind past memories.

"And all the ways of men, so vain and melancholy": The speaker forgot about the trivial and melancholic concerns of human life.


"But, as it sometimes chanceth, from the might": The speaker reflects on how sometimes, despite experiencing great joy, one can suddenly plunge into despair.

"Of joys in minds that can no further go,": This despair arises when one's mind is unable to sustain or extend the height of its joy.

"As high as we have mounted in delight": The speaker compares the height of joy to a peak that one reaches.

"In our dejection do we sink as low;": However, this joy can quickly turn into deep sadness or dejection.

"To me that morning did it happen so;": The speaker recounts experiencing this shift from joy to sadness on that particular morning.

"And fears and fancies thick upon me came;": The speaker is overwhelmed by a flood of fears and anxious thoughts.

"Dim sadness—and blind thoughts, I knew not, nor could name.": The speaker feels a vague and nameless sadness, accompanied by confused and unfocused thoughts.

"I heard the sky-lark warbling in the sky;": Despite the turmoil in the speaker's mind, they hear the cheerful song of a skylark in the sky.

"And I bethought me of the playful hare:": The speaker recalls the joy of watching a playful hare.

"Even such a happy Child of earth am I;": The speaker identifies with the carefree and joyful nature of the hare.

"Even as these blissful creatures do I fare;": Like the blissful creatures of nature, the speaker also lives without care or worry.

"Far from the world I walk, and from all care;": The speaker feels removed from the cares and concerns of the world.

"But there may come another day to me—": However, the speaker acknowledges the possibility of another day bringing solitude, pain, distress, and poverty.


"Solitude, pain of heart, distress, and poverty.": The speaker anticipates facing challenges such as loneliness, emotional pain, suffering, and financial hardship.

"My whole life I have lived in pleasant thought,": The speaker reflects on their life spent in optimistic and pleasant thoughts.

"As if life's business were a summer mood;": They have approached life as if it were a carefree and easy summer day.

"As if all needful things would come unsought": They have believed that everything they need would come to them effortlessly.

"To genial faith, still rich in genial good;": They have maintained a positive outlook and faith in the goodness of life.

"But how can He expect that others should": The speaker questions how others can be expected to care for someone

"Build for him, sow for him, and at his call": who does not take any initiative or responsibility for themselves.

"Love him, who for himself will take no heed at all?": The speaker wonders how anyone can love someone who refuses to care for themselves or take responsibility for their own life.


"I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous Boy,": The speaker recalls Thomas Chatterton, a talented but tragic poet who died by suicide at a young age.

"The sleepless Soul that perished in his pride;": Chatterton's restless spirit and pride led to his demise.

"Of Him who walked in glory and in joy": The speaker also thinks of a happier figure, possibly a farmer, who enjoyed a contented life.

"Following his plough, along the mountain-side": This individual found joy and fulfillment in simple, honest work, plowing the fields on the mountainside.

"By our own spirits are we deified:": The speaker suggests that as poets, humans elevate their own spirits and identities to divine levels through creative expression.

"We Poets in our youth begin in gladness;": Poets often start their careers full of joy and enthusiasm.

"But thereof come in the end despondency and madness.": However, this initial joy can fade, leading to despair and insanity in later life.

"Now, whether it were by peculiar grace,": The speaker ponders whether what follows next was due to some special divine intervention or gift.

"A leading from above, a something given,": The speaker considers whether it was a guidance or blessing from a higher power.


"Yet it befell that, in this lonely place,": Nevertheless, it happened that in this isolated location,

"When I with these untoward thoughts had striven,": As the speaker struggled with these troubling thoughts,

"Beside a pool bare to the eye of heaven": Near a pool that was exposed to the sky,

"I saw a Man before me unawares:": The speaker unexpectedly encountered a man.

"The oldest man he seemed that ever wore grey hairs.": This man appeared incredibly old, with hair completely grey.

"As a huge stone is sometimes seen to lie": The speaker compares the man's presence to a large stone resting on a hilltop,

"Couched on the bald top of an eminence;": Like a massive boulder perched atop a hill.

"Wonder to all who do the same espy,": Those who witness this sight are filled with wonder and curiosity,

"By what means it could thither come, and whence;": Wondering how the stone came to be there and from where it originated.

"So that it seems a thing endued with sense:": The stone appears to possess a kind of awareness or intelligence.

"Like a sea-beast crawled forth, that on a shelf": It resembles a sea creature emerging from the water to rest on a rock shelf,

"Of rock or sand reposeth, there to sun itself;": Basking in the sun's warmth on the rocky shore.

"Such seemed this Man, not all alive nor dead,": Similarly, the man appears neither fully alive nor completely dead,

"Nor all asleep—in his extreme old age:": Nor entirely asleep, despite his advanced age.

"His body was bent double, feet and head": His body is contorted, with his feet and head almost touching,

"Coming together in life's pilgrimage;": Symbolizing the burdens and struggles of life's journey.

"As if some dire constraint of pain, or rage": It's as if some intense pain or anger,

"Of sickness felt by him in times long past,": Possibly from an illness endured long ago,

"A more than human weight upon his frame had cast.": Has placed an extraordinary burden on his frail body.


"Himself he propped, limbs, body, and pale face,": The old man leaned on a long grey staff, supporting his frail body.

"Upon a long grey staff of shaven wood:": He used a staff made of smooth, shaved wood for support.

"And, still as I drew near with gentle pace,": As the speaker approached slowly,


"Upon the margin of that moorish flood": The old man stood motionless by the edge of the marshy water.

"Motionless as a cloud the old Man stood,": He stood so still that he seemed like a cloud, unaffected by the winds.

"That heareth not the loud winds when they call,": He appeared oblivious to the loud winds blowing around him.

"And moveth all together, if it move at all.": If he moved, it was with a slow and unified motion, as if his entire body moved as one.

"At length, himself unsettling, he the pond": Finally, the old man stirred the pond with his staff,

"Stirred with his staff, and fixedly did look": Gazing intently into the muddy water,

"Upon the muddy water, which he conned,": He studied the murky water closely,

"As if he had been reading in a book:": As if he were reading from a book.

"And now a stranger's privilege I took;": The speaker approached the old man, feeling a sense of permission to intrude on his solitude.

"And, drawing to his side, to him did say,": The speaker moved closer to the old man and spoke to him,

""This morning gives us promise of a glorious day."": Commenting on the promising weather.

"A gentle answer did the old Man make,": The old man responded gently,

"In courteous speech which forth he slowly drew:": Speaking slowly and politely,

"And him with further words I thus bespake,": The speaker continued the conversation,


""What occupation do you there pursue?": Asking the old man what he was doing there.

"This is a lonesome place for one like you."": Commenting on the loneliness of the location for someone like the old man.

"Ere he replied, a flash of mild surprise": Before he answered, a slight surprise showed in his eyes,

"Broke from the sable orbs of his yet-vivid eyes.": A flicker of surprise in his still lively eyes.

"His words came feebly, from a feeble chest,": The old man's words were weak, coming from a frail chest,

"But each in solemn order followed each,": Yet, each word he spoke followed the next in a solemn manner,

"With something of a lofty utterance drest—": His speech carried a sense of dignity and elevation,

"Choice word and measured phrase, above the reach": His words were carefully chosen and measured, surpassing

"Of ordinary men; a stately speech;": The speech of ordinary people; it was dignified and formal.


"Such as grave Livers do in Scotland use,": The old man's speech and demeanor are likened to those of serious, respectable individuals in Scotland.

"Religious men, who give to God and man their dues.": These are men of faith who fulfill their obligations to both God and humanity.

"He told, that to these waters he had come": The old man explained that he had come to these waters,

"To gather leeches, being old and poor:": Specifically to collect leeches, as he was elderly and poor.

"Employment hazardous and wearisome!": He described this work as dangerous and tiring.

"And he had many hardships to endure:": He endured numerous difficulties,

"From pond to pond he roamed, from moor to moor;": Traveling from one pond to another, across moors,


"Housing, with God's good help, by choice or chance;": He found shelter, aided by God's grace, either intentionally or by chance,

"And in this way he gained an honest maintenance.": And in doing so, he earned a modest livelihood through honest work.

"The old Man still stood talking by my side;": Despite the hardships, the old man continued conversing with the speaker,

"But now his voice to me was like a stream": His voice became soft and soothing to the speaker, like a gentle stream,

"Scarcely heard; nor word from word could I divide;": It was difficult for the speaker to distinguish individual words,

"And the whole body of the Man did seem": The entirety of the old man's presence appeared to the speaker,

"Like one whom I had met with in a dream;": Similar to someone the speaker might encounter in a dream,

"Or like a man from some far region sent,": Or like a person sent from a distant place,

"To give me human strength, by apt admonishment.": Perhaps sent to provide the speaker with moral or emotional support.

"My former thoughts returned: the fear that kills;": The speaker's previous worries and anxieties returned,

"And hope that is unwilling to be fed;": Along with a sense of hopelessness and despair,

"Cold, pain, and labour, and all fleshly ills;": Feelings of physical discomfort, pain, and the hardships of life,

"And mighty Poets in their misery dead.": The speaker also reflects on the suffering of great poets,

"—Perplexed, and longing to be comforted,": Feeling confused and seeking solace,

"My question eagerly did I renew,": The speaker once again asked the old man,

""How is it that you live, and what is it you do?": How he manages to survive and what his occupation entails.

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"He with a smile did then his words repeat;": The old man smiled and repeated his previous statement.

"And said that, gathering leeches, far and wide": He explained that he traveled extensively to collect leeches.

"He travelled; stirring thus about his feet": As he traveled, he stirred the waters with his feet,

"The waters of the pools where they abide.": Especially in the pools where leeches are found.

""Once I could meet with them on every side;": He reminisced about a time when he could easily find leeches everywhere.

"But they have dwindled long by slow decay;": However, he noted that over time, their numbers had significantly decreased due to gradual decline.

"Yet still I persevere, and find them where I may."": Despite the challenges, he continued to persist and search for leeches wherever he could find them.

Three years she grew Poem Themes

Perseverance and Fortitude: The old man's unwavering dedication to his task of collecting leeches despite encountering difficulties and diminishing numbers underscores themes of perseverance and resilience. Despite adversity, he persists in his efforts.

Adaptation to Change: The acknowledgment of the changing circumstances, where the availability of leeches has declined over time, suggests a theme of adaptation to change. Despite these shifts, the old man adjusts his approach and continues his quest for leeches.

Contemplation of Time and Decay: The description of leeches dwindling due to "slow decay" prompts reflection on the passage of time and the natural processes of decay. This theme invites contemplation on the transient nature of existence and the inevitability of change.

Persistence Amid Challenges: The old man's determination to persist despite facing hardships highlights the theme of persistence in adversity. Despite the obstacles he encounters, he remains resolute in pursuing his objectives.


"Resolution and Independence" by William Wordsworth is a reflective exploration of the human condition, resilience, and the power of nature to inspire and rejuvenate the spirit. Through the encounter between the speaker and the old leech-gatherer, the poem delves into themes of perseverance, humility, and the cyclical nature of life's struggles and triumphs. 

Wordsworth's vivid descriptions of the natural landscape and the old man's unwavering resolve serve to underscore the enduring connection between humanity and the natural world. Ultimately, the poem celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity and the transformative power of nature to provide solace and guidance in times of need.


1. What is the main theme of "Resolution and Independence"?

The main theme of the poem revolves around the resilience of the human spirit and the transformative power of nature. It explores how encounters with the natural world can inspire and rejuvenate individuals facing adversity.

2. How does Wordsworth depict the relationship between humanity and nature in the poem?

Wordsworth portrays a deep and symbiotic relationship between humanity and nature. Through vivid descriptions of the natural landscape and the speaker's encounter with the old leech-gatherer, he illustrates how nature serves as a source of solace, guidance, and renewal for individuals facing challenges.

3. What role does the old leech-gatherer play in the poem?

The old leech-gatherer serves as a symbol of resilience and wisdom. His unwavering resolve and humble acceptance of his circumstances inspire the speaker to persevere in the face of adversity and find solace in the natural world.

4. How does the poem explore the theme of perseverance?

The poem explores the theme of perseverance through the speaker's encounter with the old leech-gatherer. Despite facing hardship and adversity, both the old man and the speaker demonstrate resilience and determination in their respective struggles.



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