Wordsworth’s “Strange Fits of Passion I Have Known”

868 Words4 Pages
STRANGE FITS OF PASSION I HAVE KNOWN is a semiautobiographical poem by romantic poet William Wordsworth. Written in seventeen eighty nine, the poem depicts the image of a moonlight ride throughout the countryside to his lover’s, Lucy, cottage. During the trip, Wordsworth explores the sentiment driven feelings that accompany the (his) sensation of love. The poem is written in ballad form; Wordsworth purposely wrote his poetry in a simple and direct manner to contrast the elevated language of other poets of this period in an effort to bring forth the emotions of the reader. As a result, the poem becomes relatable allowing all readers to identify with the state of Wordsworth feelings in one way or another. The seven stanza poem has an ABAB rhyme scheme and is an iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter, respectively - the first and third lines of each stanza have four emphasized syllables while the second and fourth lines have only three. This rhythmic structure gives the reader a feeling of the pace at which Wordsworth is moving on this Journey.

This particular poem is classified in a series of five poems by Wordsworth called “Lucy poems” which explored the ideals of beauty, love and death. Lucy Gray was believed to be loosely based on Wordsworth’s sister Dorothy, though there is speculation among literary scholars that “The one certainty is that she [the women in STRANGE FITS OF PASSION I HAVE KNOWN] is not the girl of Wordsworth's Lucy Gray” This is apparent in line one as he implies the women is his lover.

In the first stanza Wordsworth attempts to describe his “strange fits of passion” (line one), which would generally be difficult to define or understand in any ordinary context. Wordsworth addresses this problem in line two a...

... middle of paper ...

... Criticism Synopsis Online Education. n.d. 30 Jan 2011 .

Hayden, John O. William Wordsworth: Selected Poems. Penguin Classics, 1994.

SparkNotes Editors. SparkNotes: Wordsworth’s Poetry: "Strange fits of passion have I known". n.d. 30 Jan 2011 .

Wikipedia contributors. Strange fits of passion have I known - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 27 May 2010. 30 Jan 2011 .

—. The Lucy poems - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 8 Jan 2011. 30 Jan 2011 .

Wordsworth, William. "Strange fits of passion have I known." Wordsworth, William. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 8. Norton, W. W. & Company, 2006.
Open Document