The Leech-Gatherer from Wordsworth’s 1807 poem “Resolution and Independence” stands among the forest girl in “We Are Seven”, the Solitary in The Excursion, Lucy of the “Lucy” poems, and Martha Ray in “The Thorn” as the most iconic figures in Wordsworth’s poetry. In some respects a realistic counterpart to Coleridge’s fantastic Ancient Mariner, the Leech-Gatherer is based on a real person from an actual encounter Wordsworth and his sister had in October of 1800. Dorothy Wordsworth’s journal records that she and Wordsworth met a beggar who formerly had been a leech-gatherer but who had been driven to poverty by the scarcity of leeches, which people then used as a means of blood-letting in the treatment of …
Robinson, Daniel. "Resolution and Independence". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 October 2011; last revised 18 June 2012.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=34186, accessed 28 September 2016.]