What Is "She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways"?

"She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways" is a narrative poem by William Wordsworth commemorating the life of a woman named Lucy. It is unknown whether Lucy was ever a real person, but she is a recurrent figure in Wordsworth's work, appearing as the central subject in four of his other poems: "Three Years She Grew in Sun and Shower," "A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal," "I Travelled among Unknown Men" and "Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known." "She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways" was written in 1798 and published in 1800 as part of "Lyrical Ballads," a collaborative poetry collection shared with Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Dealing with the themes of death and virtue, the poem laments the way in which good people tend to go unnoticed or unappreciated in life, and even in untimely death. With an elegiac quality, Wordsworth finishes the poem with an expression of his own grief, remarking on how few but he even realize her absence.

The poem's three stanzas have a variable metrical pattern, largely alternating between iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter.

The rhyme scheme follows a regular abab, cdcd, efef pattern, with the exception that the final syllables of the fifth and seventh lines ("stone" and "one") are a visual or "eye" rhyme.