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Allusion in The Lucy Poems

Allusion Examples in The Lucy Poems:

I travelled among unknown men

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"And she I cherished turned her wheel Beside an English fire...."   (I travelled among unknown men)

Lucy first appears at her spinning wheel by an “English fire.” The suggestion here is that the speaker can only find poetic inspiration when at home in England. The symbol of the spinning wheel is important. The image of Lucy spinning wool into thread evokes an ancient metaphor. In Greek mythology, a person’s life story took the form of a thread, spun and cut by the goddesses of fate. In British usage, “yarn” serves as a synonym for story. Thus, Lucy controls the thread of the speaker’s poetic output.

"She seemed a thing that could not feel The touch of earthly years...."   (A slumber did my spirit seal)

The speaker reinforces Lucy’s ethereal, immortal nature as muse. In the ancient Greek tradition, muses are not understood to be personal to each poet. Rather, they are goddesses who visit poets and bards as they choose. Wordsworth depicts such a relationship between Lucy and the speaker, who yearns for the presence of his muse but finds himself at a loss. The speaker’s idealistic desire to find forces beyond the empirical world is exemplary of the themes and beliefs of the Romantic movement.

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