Winander Lake: by William Wordsworth - Summary & Analysis

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There was a Boy; ye knew him well, ye cliffs
And the islands of Winander! many a time
At evening when the earliest start began
To move along, the edges of the hills,
Rising or setting, would he stand alone
Beneath the trees or by the glimmering lake,
And there, with fingers interwoven, both hands
Pressed closely palm to palm, and to his mouth
Uplifted, he, as through an instrument,
Blew mimic hootings to the silent owls,
That they might answer him; and they would shout
Across the watery vale, and shout again,
Responsive to his call, with quivering peals,
And long halloos and screams, and echoes loud,
Redoubled and redoubled, concourse wild
Of jocund din, and, when a lengthened pause
Of silence came and baffled his best skill,
Then sometimes, in that silence while he hung
Listening, a gentle shock of mild surprise
Has carried far into his heart the voice
Of mountain torrents; or the visible scene
Would enter unawares into his mind,
With all its solemn imagery, its rocks,
Its woods, and that uncertain heaven, received
Into the bosom of the steady lake.


      This extract Winander Lake is not, about books so much as about a Boy who, as originally intended, was Wordsworth himself. Often on an evening when the stars began to rise or set, the Boy would stand along under the trees or near the gimmering lake and making an instrument with the palms of his hands and mouth blow through it mimic hootings of the silent owls. The owls would respond to his calls and there would be loud echoes and pleasant din, till the owls found the calls were bogus and resumed their silence. Then the Boy, listening heard the roar of the mountain torrents and carried it for into his heart or, seeing took in the visible scene round him with all its solemn imagery, its rocks and woods and the skys-cape mirrored in the steady bosom of the lake.

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