She dwelt among the untrodden ways Beside the springs of Dove. A Maid whom there were none to praise And very few to love;
A violet by a mossy stone Half hidden from the eye! —Fair as a star, when only one Is shining in the sky.
She lived unknown, and few could know When Lucy ceased to be; But she is in her grave, and, oh, The difference to me!
* * *
And very few to love; Is shining in the sky. The difference to me!
Deform "She dwelt among the untrodden ways" by making new stanzas out of all the first
lines, second lines, third lines, and last lines respectively: this is the new last-line
stanza. I like what I"ve just made; I like how the word "difference" is shorn of
its questionably elegiac stature. Reading this I see the standard assumption that
the difference, to the speaker, of Lucy"s vanishing has little, or nothing, to do
with lament, what I"ve always suspected, and much to do with acknowledgment as praise
and love in the presence of the near absence of love. Difference, now uncoupled from
death, now leaps back to a celestial shining but framed by love intensifying through
its growing scarcity. Intensity lies in a betweenness. A further deformation of
love ; shining in The difference !
A Maid whom there were none to praise Fair as a star, when only one But she is in her grave, and Oh!
A Maid a star, and, Oh!
there is only one
Maid to praise a star in her grave
there were star only But Oh!
But she , and, Oh!
Fair praise grave,
whom none only one in , and,
"The abrupt ending of the [penultimate] line with the gestural cry "oh" injects a
sovereign implication that momentarily abolishes both meaning and subject; it is the
one point in the poem where the material body inscribes a subject, not as a continuity
or a self-consciousness, but as a pure operation of outlay. In the gestural cry,
and in a manner similar to laughter, the speaking subject is utterly decommissioned,
and language as a semantic, restrictive economy is put in question." (Steve McCaffery,
"Writing as a General Economy," in Artifice & Indeterminacy, ed. Christopher Beach, Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press, 1998, pp. 213–14)
"Abundance Recompense" (from "She dwelt. . .")
Star ceased to praise Untrodden difference But mossy love dwelt Beside violet eye Oh! Ways of love When stone springs When eye of stone is shining