The Lucy Poems

  • J. R. Watson


Wordsworth was not very helpful about the Lucy poems. In the notes which he dedicated to Isabella Fenwick he gave the barest circumstantial details of composition: ‘Composed in the Hartz Forest’; ‘Written in Germany’; ‘The next three poems were written in Germany, 1799’.1 De Quincey observed that ‘he always preserved a mysterious silence on the subject of that “Lucy”’,2 and there has been much speculation about whether she represents Annette, or Dorothy, or Mary Hutchinson. Wordsworth’s silence on the subject is of great interest, particularly as he was usually ready and forthcoming with information about his poems; not because this silence suggests a concealed love-affair, but because of the way our lack of knowledge about the identity of Lucy affects any reading of the poems.


Green Field Human Happiness Lost Paradise Natural Existence Sacred Time 
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Notes and References

  1. 2.
    Thomas de Quincey, Recollections of the Lakes and the Lake Poets, ed. David Wright (Harmondsworth, 1970) p. 188.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Hugh Sykes Davies, in ‘Another New Poem by Wordsworth’ (Essays in Criticism, XV (1965) pp. 135–61) questions the validity of the grouping together of the Lucy poems, suggesting that it was a nineteenth-century idea. Other critics have argued that the poems should be taken together;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. recent ones include James Taaffe, in ‘Poet and Lover in Wordsworth’s “Lucy” Poems’ (Modern Language Review, LXI (1966), pp. 175–9),CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. and Spencer Hall, in ‘Wordsworth’s “Lucy” Poems: Context and Meaning’ (Studies in Romanticism, X (1971) pp. 159–75).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© J. R. Watson 1982

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  • J. R. Watson

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