Study Guide

We Are Seven Stanzas 13-15

By William Wordsworth

Stanzas 13-15

Lines 49-60

"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." 

  • This eight-year-old girl is certainly persistent. She is not going to give up in her quest to convince the speaker that she and her siblings total seven in all.
  • In these stanzas, she offers the speaker her siblings' names along with a few details. Her sister Jane died first, and then her brother John died. Jane died of a painful illness, and after her death, she and John played at her grave. And then in the winter, John died too. Note the seasons going by—each new season brings death.
  • Poor little cottage girl, she's had a tough life. She's experienced so many deaths at such a young age. 
  • But we understand how she copes with death. She refuses to let go of her siblings, and they remain part of her daily life, even though they have been taken.
  • And let's note the girl's diction: Jane has been "released of her pain" by God; it sounds like she was suffering from a long illness. But, contrarily, John was "forced to go." It sounds like John's death was unexpected, or at least, not seen by the little girl as a release from suffering. 
  • The little girl's siblings have died under different circumstances, so it sounds like she has a pretty broad understanding of death.

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