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Strange fits of passion have I known

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

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 eyes 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 should be dead!”

Word Notes

  1. Befel – happened or occurred.
  2. Cottage – a small house or dwelling.
  3. Lea – a meadow or open grassy area.
  4. Cot – a small and simple house.
  5. Boon – a gift or blessing.
  6. Hoof – the hard part of a horse’s foot.
  7. Wayward – unpredictable or capricious.
  8. Nigh – near or close by.
  9. Descending – moving downward or falling.
  10. Fond – affectionate or loving.
  11. Slide – enter or come into one’s mind gradually.

Explanation of the Poem

“Strange fits of passion have I known,
And I will dare to tell,
But in the lover’s ear alone,
What once to me befel.”

In this stanza, the speaker introduces the theme of experiencing intense emotions or fits of passion. He express his willingness to share his story but only with a fellow lover who can understand. The speaker hints at a past event that he is about to recount.

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

The speaker describes the person he loved, emphasizing her beauty and freshness, comparing it to a rose in June. He mentions going to visit his beloved at her cottage, specifically during the evening when the moon is visible.

“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.”

Here, the speaker focuses his attention on the moon, gazing at it as he rides across a wide meadow (lea). He mentions his horse increasing its speed, eagerly approaching the familiar paths that hold sentimental value for the speaker.

“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.”

The speaker and his horse arrive at an orchard and begin ascending a hill. As they do so, he notices the moon descending and drawing closer to Lucy’s cottage.

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

Here, the speaker mentions falling into a sweet dream, a gentle gift from Nature. Throughout this dream, his attention remains fixed on the moon as it continues its descent.

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

The speaker’s horse continues moving forward, step by step, without stopping. Suddenly, as the horse passes behind the roof of the cottage, the moon disappears from sight, seemingly dropping out of view.

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

The speaker reflects on the thoughts that can enter a lover’s mind, often unpredictable and whimsical. In this moment, the sudden disappearance of the moon leads the speaker to worry about the well-being of Lucy. He cries out to himself, fearing the possibility that Lucy might be dead.

Critical Summary

“Strange fits of passion have I known” is a poem that explores the tumultuous and unpredictable nature of love. The poet describes his intense experiences of passion and their willingness to share their story with a fellow lover. The poem follows the speaker’s journey to visit his beloved, emphasising the beauty of his loved one and the significance of the moon in the setting.

The poem takes a turn when the moon suddenly disappears behind the cottage roof, leading the speaker to fear the worst: the possibility of his beloved Lucy being dead. This abrupt shift in the narrative reveals the speaker’s vulnerability and the anxieties that can plague a lover’s mind.

The poem’s tone is one of reflection and introspection, with the speaker delving into his own thoughts and emotions. It explores the fleeting nature of beauty and happiness, highlighting the wayward and unpredictable nature of love. The imagery of the moon adds a sense of romanticism and symbolism, representing both the passage of time and the fragility of love and happiness.

Overall, “Strange fits of passion have I known” delves into the complexities of love, the highs and lows, and the anxieties that can arise within a lover’s heart. It invites readers to contemplate the fleeting nature of emotions and the vulnerability that comes with loving deeply.

Figures of Speech in the Poem

  1. Simile: In the line “When she I loved looked every day Fresh as a rose in June,” the word “as” is used to compare the beauty of the author’s lover to a rose in June. This is a simile because it explicitly uses the word “as” to establish the comparison.
  2. Metaphor: In the lines “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,” a metaphor is present. Here, the sinking moon is metaphorically compared to the journey coming to an end and getting closer to Lucy’s cottage.
  3. Assonance: Assonance refers to the repetition of vowel sounds in nearby words. In the poem, we can find examples of assonance, such as in the line “Strange fits of passion have I known,” where the /a/ sound is repeated in the words “passion” and “have.”
  4. Consonance: Consonance involves the repetition of consonant sounds in neighboring words. The poem demonstrates consonance in lines like “Strange fits of passion have I known,” where the /n/ sound is repeated, and in “And I will dare to tell,” where the /l/ sound is repeated.
  5. Alliteration: Examples of alliteration in the poem include “When she I loved looked every day” and “My horse moved on; hoof after hoof.” The repetition of the initial consonant sounds “w” and “h” in the first example, as well as the repetition of the “h” sound in the second example, creates alliteration.
  6. Imagery: The poem utilizes visual imagery, such as the depiction of the orchard, cottage, and the descending moon. Additionally, auditory imagery is present in the line “My horse moved on; hoof after hoof,” where the rhythmic sound of the horse’s hooves is evoked.

Form & Structure of the Poem

The poem “Strange fits of passion have I known” by William Wordsworth follows a consistent structure and rhythm. It consists of seven quatrains, meaning it has seven stanzas, each composed of four lines. The rhyme scheme of the poem is ABAB, meaning that the first and third lines of each quatrain rhyme, as do the second and fourth lines.

In terms of rhythm, the poem is primarily written in iambic tetrameter. This means that each line typically contains four metrical feet, with each foot consisting of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. However, there are variations in the meter throughout the poem, which adds a sense of naturalness and fluidity to the verses.

The poem has a narrative structure, telling a story of the speaker’s journey to a lover’s cottage and the emotional turmoil he experiences along the way. The first six stanzas describe the speaker’s anticipation and his observations of the moon, while the final stanza reveals his anxiety about the possibility of his beloved, Lucy, being dead. The poem’s structure and rhythm contribute to its lyrical quality and help convey the speaker’s emotions and narrative effectively.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) & Answers from Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known

1. What is the most common form of rhyme scheme in the poem “Strange fits of passion have I known”?

a) AABB
b) ABAB
c) ABBA
d) AAAA

Answer: b) ABAB

2. How many quatrains are there in the poem?

a) 4
b) 5
c) 6
d) 7

Answer: d) 7

3. The poem is written by which poet?

a) William Shakespeare
b) William Wordsworth
c) Robert Frost
d) Lord Byron

Answer: b) William Wordsworth

4. What is the meter of the poem?

a) Iambic pentameter
b) Trochaic tetrameter
c) Iambic tetrameter
d) Anapestic hexameter

Answer: c) Iambic tetrameter

5. The speaker’s horse in the poem moves with what kind of pace?

a) Slow and steady
b) Galloping
c) Trotting
d) Quickening

Answer: d) Quickening

6. What does the sinking moon symbolize in the poem?

a) Death
b) Love
c) Longing
d) Renewal

Answer: a) Death

7. The speaker expresses concern about the possibility of whom being dead?

a) Lucy
b) Himself
c) The horse
d) The moon

Answer: a) Lucy

8. Which season is mentioned in the poem?

a) Spring
b) Summer
c) Autumn
d) Winter

Answer: b) Summer

9. What is the setting of the poem?

a) A city
b) A forest
c) A cottage
d) A mountain

Answer: c) A cottage

10. The speaker describes Lucy as fresh as what?

a) A lily
b) A daisy
c) A rose
d) A tulip

Answer: c) A rose

11. What is the predominant emotion expressed by the speaker in the poem?

a) Joy
b) Fear
c) Love
d) Sadness

Answer: c) Love

12. The poem explores the theme of:

a) Nature’s beauty
b) Human mortality
c) Unrequited love
d) Romantic betrayal

Answer: c) Unrequited love

13. The speaker’s journey is made during which part of the day?

a) Morning
b) Afternoon
c) Evening
d) Night

Answer: c) Evening

14. What is the speaker’s immediate reaction when the moon drops behind the cottage roof?

a) He cries out in fear.
b) He falls into a deep sleep.
c) He becomes mesmerized.
d) He worries about Lucy’s well-being.

Answer: d) He worries about Lucy’s well-being.

15. The line “What fond and wayward thoughts will slide” suggests that the speaker’s thoughts are:

a) Rational and controlled
b) Confused and unpredictable
c) Romantic and passionate
d) Logical and systematic

Answer: b) Confused and unpredictable

16. The poem is written in which literary form?
a) Sonnet
b) Ballad
c) Blank verse
d) Haiku

Answer: b) Ballad

17. What is the tone of the poem?

a) Melancholic
b) Joyful
c) Angry
d) Indifferent

Answer: a) Melancholic

18. The moon is described as “sinking” in the poem. What does this suggest?

a) The moon is disappearing.
b) The moon is setting below the horizon.
c) The moon is descending towards the Earth.
d) The moon is losing its brightness.

Answer: b) The moon is setting below the horizon.

19. The phrase “strange fits of passion” implies that the speaker’s emotions are:

a) Inconsistent and unpredictable
b) Rational and logical
c) Controlled and measured
d) Constant and enduring

Answer: a) Inconsistent and unpredictable

20. Which of the following best describes the relationship between the speaker and Lucy?

a) Friends
b) Siblings
c) Lovers
d) Strangers

Answer: c) Lovers

21. The speaker’s visit to Lucy’s cottage takes place under which celestial body?

a) Sun
b) Moon
c) Stars
d) Clouds

Answer: b) Moon

22. The poem’s title, “Strange fits of passion have I known,” suggests that the speaker’s emotions are:

a) Unusual and intense
b) Familiar and ordinary
c) Absent and dormant
d) Controlled and subdued

Answer: a) Unusual and intense

23. What effect does the descending moon have on the speaker?

a) It brings him peace and tranquility.
b) It fills him with dread and anxiety.
c) It sparks feelings of love and longing.
d) It reminds him of his own mortality.

Answer: b) It fills him with dread and anxiety.

24. The speaker’s fixation on the moon reflects his:

a) Romantic nature
b) Fear of darkness
c) Superstitious beliefs
d) Astronomical knowledge

Answer: a) Romantic nature

25. The poem “Strange fits of passion have I known” is an example of:

a) Romantic poetry
b) Metaphysical poetry
c) Victorian poetry
d) Modernist poetry

Answer: a) Romantic poetry

26. The speaker’s concern about Lucy’s well-being reflects his:

a) Deep love and attachment to her
b) Insecurity and jealousy
c) Indifference towards her
d) Desire for revenge

Answer: a) Deep love and attachment to her

27. What is the significance of the orchard-plot in the poem?

a) It represents a place of refuge and solace
b) It symbolizes fertility and growth
c) It signifies a secret meeting place for lovers
d) It highlights the beauty of nature

Answer: c) It signifies a secret meeting place for lovers

28. The speaker’s observation of Lucy being “fresh as a rose in June” suggests:

a) Lucy’s youthful beauty and vibrancy
b) Lucy’s fondness for gardening
c) The speaker’s fondness for flowers
d) The fleeting nature of beauty

Answer: a) Lucy’s youthful beauty and vibrancy

29. The line “And, all the while, my eyes I kept” implies that the speaker:

a) Was distracted by other things
b) Was vigilant and watchful
c) Was lost in his thoughts
d) Was trying to impress Lucy

Answer: b) Was vigilant and watchful

30. The speaker’s exclamation “O mercy!” reveals his:

a) Deep sadness and grief
b) Fear and concern for Lucy’s well-being
c) Anger and frustration
d) Disbelief and shock

Answer: b) Fear and concern for Lucy’s well-being

31. The phrase “What fond and wayward thoughts will slide” suggests that the speaker’s thoughts are:

a) Rational and controlled
b) Confused and unpredictable
c) Romantic and passionate
d) Logical and systematic

Answer: b) Confused and unpredictable

32. The theme of mortality is explored in the poem through the:

a) Mention of death and the sinking moon
b) Description of Lucy’s beauty
c) Depiction of the cottage and orchard
d) Reflections on the speaker’s journey

Answer: a) Mention of death and the sinking moon

33. The poem’s structure and rhythm contribute to its overall:

a) Playfulness and humor
b) Seriousness and gravity
c) Melancholy and introspection
d) Optimism and hope

Answer: c) Melancholy and introspection

34. The poem primarily focuses on the speaker’s:

a) Longing for a lost love
b) Regret over past actions
c) Hope for a brighter future
d) Fear of rejection

Answer: a) Longing for a lost love

35. What is the effect of the moon dropping behind the cottage roof?

a) It creates a sense of mystery and uncertainty
b) It brings the poem to a peaceful conclusion
c) It signifies the end of the speaker’s journey
d) It symbolizes the passing of time

Answer: a) It creates a sense of mystery and uncertainty

36. The poem “Strange fits of passion have I known” is an example of:

a) Narrative poetry
b) Descriptive poetry
c) Lyric poetry
d) Epic poetry

Answer: c) Lyric poetry

37. The poem’s language and imagery evoke a sense of:

a) Joy and celebration
b) Loneliness and isolation
c) Beauty and serenity
d) Sadness and longing

Answer: d) Sadness and longing

38. The speaker’s journey to Lucy’s cottage can be seen as a metaphor for:

a) The pursuit of love and happiness
b) The exploration of one’s inner self
c) The passage of time and change
d) The escape from societal constraints

Answer: a) The pursuit of love and happiness

39. The phrase “Beneath an evening moon” suggests a sense of:

a) Romantic atmosphere and setting
b) Darkness and secrecy
c) Serenity and calmness
d) Loneliness and melancholy

Answer: a) Romantic atmosphere and setting

40. The poem’s title, “Strange fits of passion have I known,” can be interpreted as:

a) The speaker’s admission of emotional instability
b) A declaration of the speaker’s passionate nature
c) An acknowledgment of the unpredictability of love
d) A reference to the poet’s personal experiences

Answer: c) An acknowledgment of the unpredictability of love

41. The moon’s proximity to Lucy’s cottage suggests a sense of:

a) Intimacy and closeness
b) Distance and separation
c) Mystery and enchantment
d) Tranquility and peace

Answer: a) Intimacy and closeness

42. The poem’s overall mood can be described as:

a) Hopeful and optimistic
b) Melancholic and nostalgic
c) Joyful and exuberant
d) Fearful and suspenseful

Answer: b) Melancholic and nostalgic

43. The poem’s narrative structure helps to convey the speaker’s:

a) Emotional journey and transformation
b) Conflicting thoughts and feelings
c) Descriptive observations of nature
d) Universal themes of love and loss

Answer: b) Conflicting thoughts and feelings

44. The line “When down behind the cottage roof” suggests a sense of:

a) Suddenness and abruptness
b) Predictability and routine
c) Gracefulness and elegance
d) Playfulness and whimsy

Answer: a) Suddenness and abruptness

45. The speaker’s fixation on the moon reflects his:

a) Romantic nature
b) Fear of darkness
c) Superstitious beliefs
d) Astronomical knowledge

Answer: a) Romantic nature

46. The poem explores the theme of:

a) Nature’s beauty
b) Human mortality
c) Unrequited love
d) Romantic betrayal

Answer: c) Unrequited love

47. The speaker’s visit to Lucy’s cottage takes place under which celestial body?

a) Sun
b) Moon
c) Stars
d) Clouds

Answer: b) Moon

48. The theme of mortality is explored in the poem through the:

a) Mention of death and the sinking moon
b) Description of Lucy’s beauty
c) Description of the cottage and orchard
d) Reflections on the speaker’s journey

Answer: a) Mention of death and the sinking moon

49. The poem’s structure and rhythm contribute to its overall:

a) Playfulness and humor
b) Seriousness and gravity
c) Melancholy and introspection
d) Optimism and hope

Answer: c) Melancholy and introspection

50. The poem “Strange fits of passion have I known” is an example of:

a) Narrative poetry
b) Descriptive poetry
c) Lyric poetry
d) Epic poetry

Answer: c) Lyric poetry

51. The poem’s language and imagery evoke a sense of:

a) Joy and celebration
b) Loneliness and isolation
c) Beauty and serenity
d) Sadness and longing

Answer: d) Sadness and longing

52. The phrase “Strange fits of passion” suggests that the speaker’s emotions are:

a) Consistent and predictable
b) Unusual and intense
c) Controlled and subdued
d) Fleeting and temporary

Answer: b) Unusual and intense

53. The speaker’s journey to Lucy’s cottage is driven by his:

a) Curiosity and desire to see her
b) Fear of losing her forever
c) Sense of duty and obligation
d) Hope for a reconciliation

Answer: a) Curiosity and desire to see her

54. The moon is described as “sinking” in the poem. What does this suggest?

a) The moon is disappearing.
b) The moon is setting below the horizon.
c) The moon is descending towards the Earth.
d) The moon is losing its brightness.

Answer: b) The moon is setting below the horizon.

55. In the line “Fresh as a rose in June,” what figure of speech is used to describe Lucy’s appearance?

a) Simile
b) Metaphor
c) Personification
d) Hyperbole

Answer: a) Simile

56. What figure of speech is employed in the line “The sinking moon to Lucy’s cot”?

a) Metonymy
b) Synecdoche
c) Alliteration
d) Onomatopoeia

Answer : b) Synecdoche

57. The phrase “Beneath an evening moon” exemplifies which figure of speech?

a) Personification
b) Hyperbole
c) Metaphor
d) Synecdoche

Answer: c) Metaphor

58. What figure of speech is employed in the line “What fond and wayward thoughts will slide”?

a) Alliteration
b) Assonance
c) Hyperbole
d) Metaphor

Answer: a) Alliteration

59. The use of the phrase “O mercy!” is an example of:

a) Apostrophe
b) Irony
c) Paradox
d) Allusion

Answer : a) Apostrophe

60. The poem’s consistent rhyme scheme (ABAB) is an example of which poetic structure?

a) Sonnet
b) Villanelle
c) Couplet
d) Ballad

Answer : d) Ballad

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