An Appreciation of
William Wordsworth does a masterful job when he crafts the poem "Three Years She Grew." Its clarity, the point of view from which it is written, and the author's personification of nature make "Three Years She Grew" a surprisingly effective piece.
The personification of nature is the basic image in this poem, and in this image, the fate of Lucy, the subject of the narrator's affections, is revealed. The image of Nature, looking upon Lucy, and convincing himself that he should take her to be "A Lady of my own," gives the poem a more personal flavor than if nature were portrayed in its traditional omnipotent and impersonal role as an omnipresent force. However, the idea that nature is a man who chooses his "Lady" from among the living serves to make the poem more "tangible," or understandable to the reader. At first, Nature proposes that he and Lucy would be as one, if she joined him:
'and with me
The Girl, in rock and plain,
In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,
Shall feel an overseeing power
To kindle or restrain.'
Nature then seems to promise that all the world and its splendor would be for her to see and enjoy:
'The floating clouds, their state shall lend
to her; For her the willow bend;'
Nature finishes by assuring himself that Lucy would be very content to be with him. With that final decision being made, Nature decides to end Lucy's life in order to bring her to him.
However, since Nature's words are being told by a man who loves Lucy dearly, the poem reverts to the man's feelings in the last stanza. It becomes apparent that the man is very distraught over the loss of his beloved little Lucy, and by telling himself what Nature must have thought, he tries to convince himself that Lucy has moved on to a better place. The poem has a kind of bittersweet ending because, although he tells himself that Lucy has moved on to a place of complete happiness in being one with Nature, he is left with "The memory of what has been, / And never more will be."
Though the poem expresses a number of different ideas and emotions, it does not confuse or lose the reader. In the beginning, the narrator quotes Nature, and, in the verses that follow, the sorrow and joy behind Lucy's death are revealed. Although relieved by the fact that Lucy is now and will forever be content, the narrator still grieves for the untimely death of this very young girl and for the fact that they will never again be able to spend time together.
Coupled with the point of view of the poem, and the personification of nature, the clarity of "Three Years She Grew" makes it a moving and effective piece. The poem's brilliant design turns a familiar theme into living, breathing verse, instead of just words on a page.