Lucy Gray is a sad poem written by William Wordsworth. It tells the story of a little girl who goes out during a snowstorm and loses her way. Her parents search for her, but all they find are her footprints leading to a canal. It was based on a real-life incident where a little girl drowned in a canal during a snowstorm.
Often I heard of Lucy Gray,
And when I crossed the wild,
I chanced to see at break of day
The solitary child.
No mate, no comrade Lucy knew;
She dwelt on a wild Moor,
The sweetest thing that ever grew
Beside a human door!
You yet may spy the fawn at play,
or the hare upon the Green;
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray
Will never more be seen.
“Tonight will be a stormy night,
You to the town must go,
and take a lantern, Child, to light
your Mother through the snow.”
“That, Father, will I gladly do;
It’s scarcely afternoon.
The Minster-clock has just struck two,
And yonder is the moon.”
At this the father raised his hook
and snapped a wooden band;
He plied his work, and Lucy took
The lantern in her hand.
The storm came on before its time,
She wandered up and down,
And many a hill did Lucy climb
But never reached the Town.
The wretched Parents all that night
Went shouting far and wide;
But there was neither sound nor sight
To serve them for a guide.
At day-break on a hill they stood
That overlooked the moor;
And then they saw the bridge of wood
Not far from their door.
And now they homeward turned, and cried
“In Heaven we all shall meet!”
When in the snow the mother spied
The print of Lucy’s feet.
Then downward from the steep hill’s edge
They tracked the footmarks small,
Through the broken hawthorn-hedge,
And by the long stone wall.
And then an open field they crossed,
The marks were still the same;
They tracked them on, nor ever lost,
And to the Bridge they came.
They followed from the snowy bank
The footmarks, one by one,
Into the middle of the plank,
And further there were none.
Yet some maintain that to this day
She is a living Child,
That you may see sweet Lucy Gray
Upon the lonesome Wild.
Over rough and smooth she trips along,
And never looks behind;
And sings a solitary song
That whistles in the wind.