The Female Vagrant by William Wordsworth

Updated: Dec 14, 2019


The Female Vagrant is one of Wordsworth's most political poems. It tells the story two wanderers seeking shelter during a stormy night on Salisbury Plain in England. The woman tells how she came to be destitute and alone: her father had been evicted from his cottage in the Lakes by a wealthy industrialist neighbor, she had married but the advent of war had ruined them and, in a last desperate attempt to support her and their children, he volunteered for the army. He is shipped to fight in the war of the rebel colonialists in 1776 and she follows him. In America, he and their three children all die. She returns to wander Britain desolate, deprived of all home and sick.