Get summary, textual solutions, questions, answers, notes. pdf, extras to the chapter “Three Years She Grew in Sun and Shower” by William Wordsworth which is a part of Class 10 English Literature Reader syllabus for students studying under Manipur Board (BSEM).
This poem tells the story of a young girl named Lucy who is nurtured by personified Nature over the course of three years. In the first stanza, we are introduced to Lucy who grew and developed over three years, experiencing the nourishing effects of both the sun’s light and warmth as well as the rain’s water and moisture.
In the second stanza, Nature speaks, represented as a maternal figure gazing upon the youthful Lucy. Nature declares Lucy to be the loveliest flower on earth, emphasising her freshness, vitality, purity and connection to the natural world through this floral metaphor. Nature decides she will take Lucy into her custody and care for her like a child of her own. She will be responsible for raising Lucy and shaping her growth and maturation into a lady.
In the third stanza, Nature explains how she will serve as both an inspiring force, filling Lucy with joy and noble thoughts, as well as a restraining force, providing discipline and guidance. As Lucy experiences all of Nature’s manifestations – the rocks, plains, skies, forests, glades – Nature will remain by her side, overseeing her development from girl to woman. Nature will give encouragement when needed, and restraint when warranted.
The fourth stanza uses the vivid image of a fawn bounding gleefully across meadows and up mountainsides to characterise Lucy’s playful, energetic spirit. Lucy will also experience the gentle breezes, the calm emanating from unfeeling natural objects, the graceful bending trees, and the churning storms – all of which will shape her physical poise and grace through nature’s silent rapport.
The fifth stanza describes how Lucy will delight in the radiant stars at night, and listen to the bubbling streams in forests and glades. These inherent natural beauties will in turn bring out Lucy’s own beauty. The sixth stanza continues by explaining how animating feelings of life and joy will mature Lucy into an upright, dignified young woman. As long as Lucy remains in nature’s idyllic valley, Nature will infuse her with these inspiring thoughts and sensations.
In the final stanza, Nature has completed her maternal mission of nurturing Lucy, but tragically Lucy dies prematurely. Her passing leaves the poet alone in the now lonely landscape with just memories of Lucy and imaginings of what could have been. The poem closes on a melancholy note, emphasising Lucy’s fleeting time on earth and the permanence of nature.
Composed as a lyrical ballad, the poem features many Romantic elements – deep emotion, imagination, simplicity, and profound appreciation for the natural world. It exemplifies Wordsworth’s poetic style through its musical flows, diction, and emotional impact.
Line by line explanation
Three years she grew in sun and shower:
The poem begins by telling us that the girl (Lucy) grew over the course of three years, experiencing both warmth and light of the sun as well as the moisture from the rain showers.
Then Nature said, ‘A lovelier flower
On earth was never sown;
The poet personifies Nature as a motherly figure who looks upon Lucy and declares that she is the loveliest flower, comparing her youth, vitality, innocence and beauty to that of a flower.
This child I to myself will take;
She shall be mine, and I will make
A lady of my own.’
Nature decides to take Lucy, adopting her like a child. Nature states her intention to raise and nurture Lucy, shaping her growth and development and moulding her into a lady.
‘Myself will to my darling be
Both law and impulse; and with me
The girl, in rock and plain,
In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,
Nature says she will be both an inspiring force (“impulse”), filling Lucy with joy and noble thoughts, as well as a restraining force (“law”), guiding and disciplining Lucy’s growth. As Lucy experiences nature – the rocks, plains, earth, sky, forest clearings, shaded alcoves – Nature will be with her.
Shall feel an overseeing power
To kindle or restrain.’
Nature declares she will watch over Lucy’s development from childhood to womanhood. She will provide encouragement (“kindle”) at times, and discipline (“restrain”) at other times.
‘She shall be sportive as the fawn
That wild with glee across the lawn
Or up the mountain springs
Lucy will be playful, active and joyful like a young deer, frolicking with abandon across open meadows or bounding up mountain slopes and springs.
And hers shall be the breathing balm,
And hers the silence and the calm
Of mute insensate things.’
Lucy will experience the gentle, soothing breeze (“breathing balm”), and find serenity in the stillness and calm emanating from the unfeeling, inanimate objects of nature.
‘The floating clouds their state shall lend
To her; for her the willow bend;
Nor shall she fail to see
Even in the motions of the storm
Grace that shall mould the maiden’s form
By silent sympathy.’
The clouds’ slow stately movement across the sky, the willow’s graceful bending in the breeze, even the churning, twisting motions of a storm, will all shape Lucy’s physical poise and grace through nature’s silent rapport with her.
‘The stars of midnight shall be dear
To her; and she shall lean her ear
In many a secret place
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
And beauty born of murmuring sound
Shall pass into her face.’
Lucy will delight in the radiant stars at night. She will listen intently to the playful babbling and sounds of streams in secluded nature spots. The inherent beauty of these gentle nature sounds will add to her own beauty.
‘And vital feelings of delight
Shall rear her form to stately height,
Her virgin bosom swell;
Such thoughts to Lucy I will give
While she and I together live
Here in this happy dell.’
Joyful feelings of life and pleasure will shape Lucy into an upright, dignified young woman, maturing her innocent heart. As long as Lucy and Nature live together in this idyllic valley, Nature will instill these animating thoughts and feelings in her.
Thus Nature spake – The work was done –
How soon my Lucy’s race was run!
She died, and left to me
This heath, this calm, and quiet scene;
The memory of what has been,
And never more will be.
After Nature spoke these words, her mission of raising and shaping Lucy was completed. But tragically, Lucy’s life ended prematurely when she passed away. Her death left the poet with just memories of her and the now lonely, quiet natural landscape, which will never be the same without Lucy.
Textual questions and answers
(A) Answer the following questions in a sentence each:
(i) How is Nature personified in the poem?
Answer: In the poem, Nature is personified as a nurturing and guiding figure, taking the role of ‘the Guide’, ‘the Nurse’, and ‘the Guardian’ of the child, Lucy.
(ii) Write how Nature treats Lucy.
Answer: Nature treats Lucy with care and guidance, intending to shape her into a lady of its own, teaching her through the various elements and experiences of the natural world.
(iii) In what way does Lucy enjoy the nights.
Answer: Lucy enjoys the nights by finding dear companionship in the stars of midnight and learning from the silent beauty and murmuring sounds of the natural world.
(iv) ‘The work was done’ – what is ‘the work’ referred to?
Answer: ‘The work’ refers to Nature’s task of educating and shaping Lucy, a process through which Nature imparts its lessons and beauty to her, ultimately culminating in her physical and emotional development.
(B) Answer each of the following questions briefly:
(i) What does the poet tell us about Lucy’s education by Nature?
Answer: The poet describes Lucy’s education by Nature as a comprehensive and nurturing process where Nature itself imparts wisdom, beauty, and character to Lucy, influencing her development and personality.
(ii) The poet compares Lucy to a fawn. How is the comparison apt?
Answer: The comparison of Lucy to a fawn is apt because it highlights her playful, joyful, and spirited nature, akin to a fawn that frolics freely and energetically in the natural world.
(iii) Explain the expressions “overseeing power,” “breathing balm,” and “murmuring sound.”
Answer: “Overseeing power” refers to Nature’s omnipresent and guiding influence on Lucy, “breathing balm” symbolizes the soothing and healing aspects of nature, and “murmuring sound” denotes the subtle and gentle voices of nature that contribute to Lucy’s understanding and growth.
(iv) Describe the physical development of Lucy by different objects of Nature.
Answer: Lucy’s physical development is influenced by various objects of Nature, such as the floating clouds, willow trees, and stars of midnight, which contribute to her grace, form, and beauty, symbolizing the harmonious and nurturing relationship between her and the natural world.
(v) “This child I to myself will take; She shall be mine and I will make A Lady of my own.” Who spoke these words and why? How did the speaker plan to achieve the purpose?
Answer: These words are spoken by Nature, personified as a nurturing and guiding force. Nature expresses its intention to take Lucy under its care to shape and educate her into a lady of its own creation. The speaker, Nature, plans to achieve this by immersing Lucy in the various elements and experiences of the natural world, thereby imparting wisdom, beauty, and character.
Think and Write
(a) The poet uses few antithetical pair of words in the poem to evoke the opposite forces of Nature. For example – ‘Sun and shower’. Find out such pair of words in the poem.
Answer: In the poem, the poet uses several antithetical pairs of words to highlight the contrasting forces of nature. These include “sun and shower,” “rock and plain,” “earth and heaven,” and “glade and bower.” Each pair contrasts different elements of nature, emphasizing the diverse and dynamic aspects of the natural world.
(b) Read the poem once more and note down the ideas and feelings you have about Lucy. What might she look like? What is her personality? Discuss in your group to write an answer.
Answer: Based on the poem, Lucy can be envisioned as a young girl who embodies the beauty and purity of nature. She might have a graceful and natural appearance, reflecting the influence of the natural elements that have nurtured her. Her personality seems to be joyful, spirited, and in harmony with nature, similar to a playful fawn. She likely possesses a calm and serene demeanor, influenced by the “breathing balm” and “murmuring sound” of nature.
(c) Make a list of all the rhyming words with their stanza numbers. For example: Stanza 1:- shower – flower, down – own.
Answer: The rhyming words in the poem, along with their respective stanza numbers, are as follows:
- Stanza 1: shower – flower, down – own.
- Stanza 2: plain – restrain, balm – calm.
- Stanza 3: bend – lend, storm – form.
- Stanza 4: dear – ear, round – sound.
- Stanza 5: height – delight, swell – dell.
- Stanza 6: done – run, scene – been.
(a) The poem’s title and the first line are the same. Discuss in your group and write a description of the significance of the title of the poem.
Answer: The title “Three years she grew in sun and shower” and its repetition as the first line of the poem emphasise the importance of the time period of three years during which Lucy grew and developed under the influence of nature. It signifies the transformative impact of nature on Lucy’s life, with “sun and shower” symbolising the various experiences and elements of nature that contributed to her growth and development.
(b) Imagine that Lucy comes back to life and if you were the poet how will you express your joy? Make a diary entry on this.
Answer: Dear Diary,
Today, something miraculous happened. Lucy, the child of nature, the embodiment of its purest essence, has returned to the world of the living. As I pen down these words, my heart is aflutter with emotions too profound to be captured by mere words.
Lucy, once a mere memory, a symbol of nature’s nurturing grace, is now here, breathing and alive, as real as the sun that shines upon the earth. The joy I feel is akin to the warmth of the first rays of sunshine after a long, dark night. It’s as if the universe has conspired to bring back not just a child, but a piece of the soul of nature itself.
Her presence is like a balm to my weary spirit. The sight of her, playing and laughing, her laughter echoing like a melody in the air, brings back a sense of hope and wonder that I thought I had lost. Lucy, with her return, has brought back the magic and beauty of life, reminding me that even in the darkest moments, there is always a possibility for joy and rebirth.
In her eyes, I see the twinkling of the stars, in her smile, the radiance of the moon, and in her laughter, the melody of the rivers. She is not just a child; she is a symbol of life, of resilience, of the eternal cycle of nature that brings forth life, takes it away, and then, in moments like these, gifts it back in all its glory.
As I close this entry, I feel a sense of peace, knowing that the world, for all its troubles and turmoil, still holds the capacity for miracles, for joy, for the return of lost beauty.
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