"Strange fits of passion I have known" by William Wordsworth.

Updated: Dec 14, 2019




Of the 5 Lucy poems this one is the prime example of the Wordsworthian endeavor to trace the associations we make in a state of excitement. 


Doubtless, there has been a time when you were passionately in love with someone and they you. In the height of your love, while you made your way to your lovers house, you had a moment's terror that they wouldn't be there or that they would leave you. Maybe, they have lost interest in you or found someone else to love. Or possibly, they inexplicably die. 


This is the experience of Wordsworth's strange fit of passion. The aim of the poem is to explore the origins of the associations which led to this strange conclusion: that his lover Lucy would be dead.

Strange Fits of Passion Have I known

by William Wordsworth


Strange fits of passion have I known: And I will dare to tell, But in the lover's ear alone, What once to me befell.

When she I loved looked every day Fresh as a rose in June, I to her cottage bent my way, Beneath an evening-moon.

Upon the moon I fixed my eye, All over the wide lea; With quickening pace my horse drew nigh Those paths so dear to me.

And now we reached the orchard-plot; And, as we climbed the hill, The sinking moon to Lucy's cot Came near, and nearer still.

In one of those sweet dreams I slept, Kind Nature's gentlest boon! And all the while my eye I kept On the descending moon.

My horse moved on; hoof after hoof He raised, and never stopped: When down behind the cottage roof, At once, the bright moon dropped.

What fond and wayward thoughts will slide Into a Lover's head! 'O mercy!' to myself I cried, 'If Lucy hould be dead!'


----

I told her this: her laughter light

Is ringing in my ears:

And when I think upon that night

My eyes are dim with tears.*


*This last stanza was omitted by the author before publication.