William Wordsworth

(1770-1850 / Cumberland / England)

We Are Seven - Poem by William Wordsworth

--------A Simple Child,
That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death?

I met a little cottage Girl:
She was eight years old, she said;
Her hair was thick with many a curl
That clustered round her head.

She had a rustic, woodland air,
And she was wildly clad:
Her eyes were fair, and very fair;
--Her beauty made me glad.

"Sisters and brothers, little Maid,
How many may you be?"
"How many? Seven in all," she said
And wondering looked at me.

"And where are they? I pray you tell."
She answered, "Seven are we;
And two of us at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea.

"Two of us in the church-yard lie,
My sister and my brother;
And, in the church-yard cottage, I
Dwell near them with my mother."

"You say that two at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea,
Yet ye are seven!--I pray you tell,
Sweet Maid, how this may be."

Then did the little Maid reply,
"Seven boys and girls are we;
Two of us in the church-yard lie,
Beneath the church-yard tree."

"You run about, my little Maid,
Your limbs they are alive;
If two are in the church-yard laid,
Then ye are only five."

"Their graves are green, they may be seen,"
The little Maid replied,
"Twelve steps or more from my mother's door,
And they are side by side.

"My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem;
And there upon the ground I sit,
And sing a song to them.

"And often after sunset, Sir,
When it is light and fair,
I take my little porringer,
And eat my supper there.

"The first that died was sister Jane;
In bed she moaning lay,
Till God released her of her pain;
And then she went away.

"So in the church-yard she was laid;
And, when the grass was dry,
Together round her grave we played,
My brother John and I.

"And when the ground was white with snow,
And I could run and slide,
My brother John was forced to go,
And he lies by her side."

"How many are you, then," said I,
"If they two are in heaven?"
Quick was the little Maid's reply,
"O Master! we are seven."

"But they are dead; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!"
'Twas throwing words away; for still
The little Maid would have her will,
And said, "Nay, we are seven!"

Form: Ballad


Comments about We Are Seven by William Wordsworth

  • (12/24/2017 12:59:00 PM)


    Without doubt, this a genius poem. Language simple, message complex. For me, it provoked reflection on my relationship with my lost family members.
    This poem offers hope and solace to those who have experienced dark days. Simple, excellent, inspiring, touching, emotional and insightful, this poem has it all.
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  • (8/20/2015 5:56:00 AM)


    I have read it several times. each time i read it.. i get emotional and the conversation strikes right to my heart (Report) Reply

  • (12/25/2013 11:07:00 PM)


    Such a beautiful poem, it literally makes me weep. (Report) Reply

  • Stevie Taite (4/13/2013 1:31:00 PM)


    Stevie Taite(4/13/2013 1: 29: 00 PM)
    This touches the soul with innocent but resilient hands of the child. The man is clearly endeared by the small girl. It paints such a beautiful image. A magically crafted narrative |
    (Report) Reply

  • (4/24/2012 10:00:00 PM)


    I absolutely love this poem. I read it at school and i liked it right away, its very memorable and I like the story it tells. Definately on my favorite poem list! ! (Report) Reply

  • (2/25/2008 5:17:00 PM)


    this poem is one of may favorites
    i hope everyone knows how meaningful it is
    and the one's who don't..... well.... just try harder!
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/11/2007 6:09:00 PM)


    I beleave this poem is about holding on to the one you love even after they stop breathing. THe little girl is still close to her brother and sister. (Report) Reply

  • (11/23/2006 1:28:00 PM)


    This is my favourite wordsworth poem, it's so powerful and moving. I showed it to one of my friends who'd lost a loved one and he thought the same as well. (Report) Reply

  • (6/29/2006 8:23:00 AM)


    I got a book of Wordsworth when I was 13. This was the first poem in the book. I cried. It has remained my absolute favorate ever since. Almost 30 years later it can still make me cry. The innocense, the since of never losing a loved one because they are still there, in heart, soul and mind. This poem never diminishes its power. (Report) Reply

  • (4/8/2005 9:10:00 PM)


    what can I say but what a wonderful poet. I cry when I read this. I can imagine this child telling somebody about her brothers and sister. (Report) Reply

  • (3/8/2005 11:40:00 PM)


    please I want comments on this poem because I didn't understand it well (Report) Reply

    (11/28/2017 3:37:00 PM)

    please keep reading it. it will come to life.

Read all 12 comments »




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Read poems about / on: brother, sister, sunset, mother, heaven, sea, girl, snow, together, tree, hair, child, song, green, beauty, pain, death, light, children, running



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002



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