I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
The Connection Between the Natural Scene and the Speaker’s State of Mind in William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”
William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” is a lyric poem, which deals with the speaker’s state of mind. The description of the process, which the speaker goes through, is represented by a natural scene where the speaker, plants and the surroundings become united. The poem is written in a figurative language, combining images, similes and words that denote mood, atmosphere and colors to reflect the changes in the speaker’s position. These changes are physical, psychological and emotional. In this essay I will discuss the connection between the natural scene and the speaker’s state of mind by analyzing the imagery and figurative language of the poem.
The poem begins with a simile, which the speaker uses to describe his process of wondering or thinking as the aimless, free, metaphysical wandering of a cloud in its celestial route above earth: “I wandered lonely as a cloud”(l.1). The speaker has no intention or purpose in his actions; he lets the muse, or the wind, carry him off to where it might lead him. Just like the cloud, earthly rules or occurrences do not bound him. However, despite the freedom and the absence of some kinds of attachments or obligations, the speaker finds himself lonely and secluded. It might suggest that he does not feel connected to the human physical, earthly world and so chooses to be identified with a cloud, which floats above, uninvolved in what happens down below, a passive spectator. This state changes when he surprisingly notices many daffodils by the lake: “All at once I saw a crowd / A host, of golden daffodils;”(l.3-4). To emphasize the numerous flowers he uses two words one after another, “crowd” and “a host”. There is a contradiction between the position of the speaker and the daffodils: he is all by himself while they outnumber him, he is above and they are down below (beneath the trees). The speaker personifies the daffodils and describes their movement in the wind as an act of “fluttering” and “dancing”. The atmosphere in this scene is very calm, peaceful and harmonious. The wind bridges the worlds of the speaker as a cloud in the sky and the daffodils, which move in the light breeze.
In the second stanza the speaker uses another simile to compare the golden daffodils with the shine of stars. Now, the earthly daffodils are identified with something of the speaker’s own metaphorical world (celestial universe). The speaker elevates and positions them above himself, as the stars on the Milky Way, and thus brings them closer to him. The speaker attributes the daffodils an aspect of endlessness, infinite quality they have, which has no limits: he describes them as “continuous”(l.7), “stretched in never-ending line”(l.9). They are uncountable, like the stars in heaven. The speaker repeats the description of his encounter with the daffodils like he did in the first stanza, when trying to do something almost impossible as catching ten thousand daffodils with a single “glance”(l.11). The speaker is impressed by the number of the flowers and their movements in the wind, “tossing their heads in sprightly dance”(l.12). The speaker uses another personification, which expresses the vividness and vitality of the flowers as part of nature and as a group, which operates together.
In the third stanza the speaker expresses his emotions openly and directly as he leaves the lonely cloud for the company of the cheerful company of the daffodils, which were able to surpass even the waves by their happy dancing (l.13-14).
The speaker feels he belongs to something, he states his purpose or destination as a poet– the maker of the literary piece, which commemorates the magnificence of the daffodils: “A poet could not but be gay / In such a jocund company”(l. 15-16). This is a turning point in the speaker’s status as presented in the beginning of the poem. While in the beginning he clouded his true identity and expressed his lack of companionship when “wandering” about with his thought, now he declares himself of being a “poet”, who enjoys the “company” of the daffodils. His astonishment from the sight before him is obvious: “I gazed–and gazed–but little thought / What wealth the show to me has brought”(l.17-18). The act of gazing at the daffodils is very long and constant. The speaker is transfixed upon them, not thinking about what riches this sight might bring him. The flowers alone are in the focus of his attention. The speaker abandons the initial aimless, wandering for the sight of daffodils.
In the fourth and last stanza of the poem the speaker describes his state of mind from another point of view. He translates the natural scene and the process described by the imagery of the cloud, daffodils, celestial beings (“breeze”, “stars”, “Milky Way”) into terms more familiar with our own, human world. He describes himself lying on a couch as a regular habit when he gets into a kind of daydreaming, reflecting random thoughts. While in this state when he is in solitude the daffodils penetrate his “inward eye”(l.21), or the inner world created in his mind, where their sight fills him with happiness. The same natural scene that is described in the first stanza is a part of his inner world and the joy, which takes the place of the emotions of loneliness in the end. The speaker ends his poem with a joint dance of the daffodils and himself.
The nature scene, use of imagery and figurative language in the poem all have a very important function in our understanding of the speaker’s state of mind and the change he goes through along the way. In the beginning the speaker compares himself to a lonely cloud, wandering pointlessly above nature and earth. Then, when he notices the daffodils he is aware of their “golden”, “sparkling” presence and their gentle, elegant dance-like movement with the wind. He tries to bring himself closer to the daffodils by describing them in the terms of the celestial world, “stars”(l.7). Afterwards he is drawn into their own world (and ours, as well) when he gazes at them and identify himself as the poet and the creator of the literary piece. His pointless thoughts now have a meaning, a purpose. Then, in the end, after joining the company of the flowers, which though delicate and small managed to overcome even the mightiest dance of the waves, he returns to the earthly world and his couch.
I assume that the speaker initially had some difficulty, expressed in his choice to become a “cloud”. Then, when looking at the bright daffodils, where their color might also stand for a symbol of hope or a beam of light in the surrounding dark void, their vivid movement and ability to withstand the mighty dance of the waves, inspires him. And then, finally, he is encouraged to return and confront his loneliness with the memory of the numerous daffodils he remembers and cherishes in his mind.
William Wordsworth’ Description of Passion as Depicted in His Poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
Wordsworth’s Poem Examination
Upon reading William Wordsworth’s poem, it was kind of unclear of what he was trying to say. However, when I read the poem a couple more times out loud, I slowly got to pick up his message and the elements within his poem. Elements such as emotions, nature, and individuality have been found within William Wordsworth’s poem. All these three elements all help deliver a message within the poem. When analyzing each line within the poem, it reveals a specific element along with a message the author is trying to tell you.
The romantic element Nature plays a significant role in William Wordsworth’s poem. In lines 3-4 in “The World Is Too Much with Us”, William states “Little we see in Nature that is ours; we have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!” It may not sound like that there is a message here, but if you read it carefully, you can slowly understand the message. What William Wordsworth was trying to say is that since everyone is cramped into one city, they don’t get to see a lot of nature. With that, people are dedicating their hearts to their lives, instead of the nature around them.
Another romantic element found in the poems is emotion. In the poem “The World Is Too Much with Us”, in lines 8-10 the author states “For this, for everything, we are out of tune; It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;” The author uses the logic of how everything is not in order. Humanity and nature are isolated from each other, which makes the author mad. The author would rather be a heathen rather than to be a part of what humanity has become.
One last romantic element found within the poems is individuality. “For oft, when on my couch I lie in vacant or in pensive mood, they flash upon that inward eye which is the bliss of solitude; and then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils.” (Lines 19-24; I Wander Lonely As a Cloud) In this quoted phrase, the author finds himself as an individual. Whenever he is on his couch, not in the mood, he thinks about the happy daffodils dancing. Since the author is living in a world where humanity and nature isn’t united as one, him thinking of daffodils dancing in a field makes him finds himself as an individual.
Everybody has different ways of expressing their feelings. William Wordsworth wanted to express his feelings through a poem. When writing his poems, humanity and nature were not united. In order to express how he felt about that, William Wordsworth used romantic elements. Romantic elements such as nature, emotion, and individuality are what helped put a message behind the lyrics of his poem.
Examination of the Poems, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud and Written at the Close of Spring
To compare the form of the poems “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” and “Written at the Close of Spring,” I will examine each piece’s rhythmic progression. Both the Wordsworth poem and the Smith poem share an iambic pattern; every even-numbered syllable in each line is stressed, while the odd is unstressed: “I WAN-dered LONE-ly AS a CLOUD,” and “the GAR-lands FADE that SPRING so LATE-ly WOVE.” The chief point of contrast here is that the former has four stressed syllables and, because it is a sonnet, the latter has five, respectively called iambic tetrameter and pentameter. However, though both pieces are so closely related through their rhythmic patterns, each creates a totally different feeling with said patterns, and the reason for this relates somewhat to the rhythmic progression of music.
Scrutinize the rhythm of any song with four beats per measure. The piece flows naturally from one measure to the next; the progression is easy and soothing, harmonic, all is right with the world. Now, do the same for a piece with five beats per measure. (This may be harder as, with good reason, music like this is far less common.) After each measure, the piece seems to stop in its tracks before continuing; it is stilted, difficult and perhaps somewhat harsh on the ears when carefully examined. Finally, consider how this relates to the progression of the above poems. The Wordsworth poem flows naturalistically through each line because it has only four “beats” per line. In contrast, the Smith poem causes the reader to pause between each line due to its five “beats” per line. Thus is created two unique feelings: one flowing, one stilted. The symbolic nature of these feelings as they relate to the subject matter is a topic for another debate.
William Wordsworth’s Portrayal of Romanticism in ‘the World is Too Much with Us’ and ‘i Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’
Wordsworth’s Poem Essay Response
William Wordsworth, author of I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud and The World is Too Much With Us, highlight important elements of Romanticism. The exotic, nature, emotion and individuality are perfectly embodied within these two poems. While carefully identifying each one, I’ve perceived Wordsworth’s message much more clear. His portrayal of romantic elements made me feel as if I were actually Wordsworth experiencing either bliss or outrage. Wordsworth wanted readers to connect with him through important romantic elements and successfully did so.
In one of Wordsworth’s most famous poems, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, he writes, “Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.” (Stanza 2, Line 6-12) After walking through valleys and hills, Wordsworth finds himself in an abundant crowd of daffodils stretching out in front of him. As he glances at them, he realizes it’s just like the Milky Way. It seemed there was no ending for both. Nature is the romantic element Wordsworth significantly uses.
In another one of Wordsworth’s poems, The World is too Much With Us, he writes, “It moves us not. –Great God! I’d rather be a Pagan suckled in a creed outworn; So might I, standing on this pleasant lea, Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;” (Line 9-12) Wordsworth expresses his aggravation towards those who value materialistic possessions rather than nature. He wishes to be a pagan at this point. By Wordsworth being a pagan, he will only see glimpses of the world that wouldn’t make him feel sad and lonely instead of how unappreciative the world is with nature’s beauty. Wordsworth only uses one, but very conspicuous romantic element, emotion.
Throughout Wordsworth’s poetry, romantic elements are used as an important tool to express himself and connect with his readers. After analyzing just two out of four romantic elements, Wordsworth’s message was quite more interesting and meaningful. His poems were simple, but spoke to me on a louder level. The exotic, nature, emotion, and individuality encouraged both Wordsworth and I appreciate the world’s beauty and bliss.
A Review of William Wordsworth’ Poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
Critical Analysis of “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth
The poem that is being used in the oral presentation is “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth. There are several elements that are going to be discussed in this analysis which are the literary devices, theme, issues and concerns raised as well as tone and mood.
The poet used variety of literary devices in this poem. Firstly, the used of repetition. For example, the word “dance” is being repeated in every stanza. This is to emphasize the feeling of the daffodils which is blissful and joyful and this has made the poet feel the happiness. In the first stanza, “fluttering and dancing in the breeze”. The poet describes the daffodils are fluttering and dancing which shows the happiness and joy and he can feel it when he saw the thousands of daffodils. Another literary device is simile. The poet compares himself to a cloud. It is shown in the line, “I wandered lonely as a cloud”. A cloud is a light and free-flowing image. Thus, as a cloud, the poet can wander freely and enjoy the nature which uplifts his spirit.
The theme of this poem is nature’s beauty uplifts the human spirit. This theme is proven in line 23 and line 24. As in line 23, “and then my heart with pleasure fills” shows that the nature represent by the daffodils fortify the poet spirit and make him feel happy. As in line 24, “and dances with the daffodils” enacts that the daffodils can make the poet feel the merriment and finally trigger him to dance along with the dancing daffodils. The poet imagine the beautiful nature vividly that he could see the scene clearly. The nature can evoke emotions, thoughts and feelings as well as fortify the human spirit.
The tone and the mood for this poem are lonely and happy as well as cheerful. As in line 6, “Fluttering and dancing in the breeze” indicates the joyfulness that is being shown by the movement of the daffodils. The daffodils are given human character which is dancing to show the happy feeling. The line “tossing their heads in sprightly dance” (L, 12) also portrays the feeling of cheeriness. The daffodils are said to be tossing their head like human being. Nonetheless, there is also sad tone which is lonely. This is shown in the line “I wandered lonely as a cloud” (L, 1). The persona feels the loneliness inside him and he compares himself to the cloud. As he refers himself to the cloud, he is able to feel the true feeling that the nature can give. His spirit is uplifted by the beautiful daffodils.
This poem has a relation to today’s situation where human do not appreciate nature which is a gift from God. Malaysia faces problems of deforestation, pollution of inland and marine waters, soil and coastal erosion, overfishing and coral reef destruction, along with air pollution, water pollution and the problem of waste disposal. Human are too greedy and selfish. Their purpose is just to live in a world that is full of wealth and successful in their career without concern about the surrounding. The global warming is one of the effects from human irresponsible act. As massive amount of trees being cut, the temperature rise and this will contribute to global warming. If this environmental issue goes on, more serious problem will occur. Thus, we should do our best to protect nature. The new generation should appreciate nature.
The Process of Thoughts in “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth
Our thoughts and imagination can be in our favor as a blessing or against us as a curse, as we determine how we shape our thoughts and what we prefer to think, imagine and dream about. Whether these thoughts are delightful or frightening, its what makes us continue our life the way we want. In his poem “I wandered lonely as a cloud”, William Wordsworth examines the process and ways of thought related to nature in his eyes.
A Cloud That is Roaming by Itself
First, he mentions a cloud that is roaming by itself, which usually doesn’t happen as clouds are always seen in groups floating above us, but here he might be referring to the fragment of the cloud. (English Summary, 2018). This cloud is floating aimlessly with no destination to land on, at this point he might be referring to himself as he is alone with no friends and has no where to go to, so he starts to wander around till he hopes to see something that will grab his attention on this journey. (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).
A Crowd of Golden Daffodils
Second, he mentions a “crowd of golden daffodils” that he sees while roaming around, he uses the word crowd to mention the countless amount of them and resemble them to a group of humans, the word golden is used to express their majesty and beauty in his eyes. These daffodils can be seen everywhere, “beside the lake, beneath the trees”, similarly to humans that can be seen everywhere. He starts to describe them as “fluttering and dancing” the same which humans do when they are happy and filled with joy. William sees these flowers are happy and living a great moment, it could be because they are all in together in one place, unlike him being lonely with no friends so he can’t enjoy himself.
The Comparison with Stares and Waves
Third, the stars and waves are compared to the daffodils as he sees them as similar elements to the flowers. The number of stars is like the number of daffodils he saw, they are uncountable. They are also similar in the way they show their beauty, as stars shine in the sky, the daffodils sway their heads along the wind in glee. The waves and daffodils are compared to each other by the way they dance. Even though the waves behind the daffodils were also dancing, William could only see the beauty of the flowers at that moment, as their company made him feel pleasured.
Overall, Williams poem reflects his thoughts and ideas of nature and how he associates it with humans and their behaviors. Its clear that at certain stages of emotions he sees that nature is representing him in an equivalent way and could use these thoughts to delight him and assure him that he is not alone in what he is going through.
- I Wandered Lonely as A Cloud Analysis: Wordsworth • English Summary. (2018, September 23). Retrieved July 17, 2019, from ttps://englishsummary.com/wandered-lonely-cloud-wordsworth/
- Shmoop Editorial Team. (2008, November 11). I wandered lonely as a Cloud (Daffodils) Theme of Happiness. Retrieved July 17, 2019, from https://www.shmoop.com/study-guides/poetry/wandered-lonely-cloud-daffodils/themes/happiness
Daffodiles by William Wordsworth and How Nature Provides Mental and Spiritual Fulfillment
Do humans truly understand the value of nature that is around them? The influence of nature is found almost everywhere and affects human behavior on a daily basis. William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” is a lyric poem that is commonly known as Wordsworth’s most famous work. Published around 1807, the poem includes elements of romanticism through the primary focus on nature. This particular focus rebelled against the Industrial Revolution of this era as it provided a means of escape from the world of industrialization. The poem portrays the speaker’s mental journey as the speaker recalls the memory of the daffodils that give him comfort when the strong feeling of loneliness lingered. The poet expresses the relationship between nature and the speaker, and how the motion of nature influences the behaviors of humans. William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” puts forth the notion that nature provides comfort from the realities of industrialization as the speaker expresses how nature has the ability to provide one with mental and spiritual fulfillment. This is demonstrated through the poet’s use of creative imagery, strategically used repetition, and inventive personification.
The Sight of Daffodiles
Through the means of creative imagery, Wordsworth effectively reveals the mental and spiritual fulfillment that nature can bring upon a person. This is first shown in the first stanza of the poem where the location of the daffodils is visualized. The speaker became immersed by the sight of the daffodils without even realizing it at the time. The imagery highlights the beauty in which nature can bring as the speaker paints the picture of “A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees” (Wordsworth 5-6). An expanding field of daffodils can be visualized beside a lake and beneath the trees in the area. This use of imagery causes the reader visualize the speaker’s feelings and emotions as if the reader were to experience that moment in person. Wordsworth used descriptions appealing to the sense of sight to assist the reader to imagine or feel the same joy the speaker felt at that very moment. Wandering lonely, the speaker came across a moment of captivation, acting as a distraction from the negative feelings they harbored. A second way imagery reveals the mental and spiritual fulfillment that nature can provide is placed in the second stanza where the speaker continues to observe the field of daffodils that stretch around the lake. The second stanza uses imagery to continue the description of the daffodils as the speaker steadily observes the daffodils. The speaker states the observation of the daffodils as ‘Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance’ (11-12). The imagery creates the visualization of a large number of flowers moving in unison like movement that expresses the harmony the poet finds in nature. The word choice “sprightly dance” is what is used to create that sense of harmonic movement. Wordsworth’s continued imagery allows the reader to better understand the feelings of the speaker through a multidimensional perspective by creating images with a sense of action, and movement. Wordsworth’s clever use of imagery effectively adds depth and meaning to the scenery of daffodils that unfold before the speaker. The use of Wordsworth’s imagery supports the idea that nature is a treasure that can always comfort and provide one with the sense of fulfillment as proved through the speaker’s feelings of awe that overrules the loneliness and aimlessness they had felt before.
Captivating the Mind
Nature has the capability to captivate the mind of humans distracting them from the world and providing a sense of mental and spiritual fulfillment as seen through the use of smartly placed repetition. Firstly, through the use of cleverly placed repetition, Wordsworth highlights the captivation the speaker felt though the observation of nature. This is seen in the third stanza of the poem where the word “gazed” is repeated. The poet employs the use of repetition when the speaker says “I gazed – and gazed – but little thought” (17). The literary use of the word “gazed” conveys that the speaker is staring and never ceases to keep staring at the daffodils. This expresses the feeling that the speaker no longer thinks about the loneliness they felt before as the speaker looks fixedly at the flowers, bewitched by the beauty of nature. Here Wordsworth proves that the alluring charm of nature acts as a distraction from the stress of industrialization. Secondly, Wordsworth successfully creates the force of emphasis within the poem through use of continued repetition exhibiting the speaker’s captivation of nature. The repeated alliteration of the /w/ sound in, “What wealth the show to me had brought” (18), applies emphasis on the value of nature that is held within the speaker. By observing the daffodils, the true value of nature is revealed to the speaker as the word “wealth” is seen not as materialistic wealth but spiritual and mental wealth. The use of alliteration slows down the pace of the poem and allows the reader to become more engaged in the poem. This slowed pace lets the reader understand the value of nature just as the speaker does by creating time to process the speaker’s realization. The cunning use of repetition Wordsworth used highlights the wealth the speaker found within the captivation of nature. The idea that nature has the ability to provide one with mental and spiritual fulfillment is evident through the speaker’s feelings of awe that overrules the loneliness and aimlessness they had felt before.
Keeping Company Through Lonely Times
Personification within the poem communicates the vital role that nature plays in one’s life to comfort as well as to soothe one’s mind and spirit. Wordsworth’s use of inventive personification shows how nature can possess the ability to keep one company through lonely times. Seen in the first stanza, the poet applies human characteristics to the “daffodils” that the speaker observes. The daffodils are seen to be “Fluttering and dancing in the breeze” (6) and dancing is a human action usually performed with the purpose of amusement. Wordsworth chooses to humanize the daffodils as people that can move and dance to reflect the speaker’s perspective on the flowers. This comparison effectively communicates the Romantic idea of finding expression human behavior and in nature. This establishes the link between humans and nature that allows nature to soothe the mind of the speaker. The beauty of nature can have the profound ability upon humans to minimize negative emotions and become more vigilant and creative. Through reminiscing in the memory of the golden daffodils the speaker re-imagines the feeling of bliss, as the speaker includes “And then my heart with pleasure fills And dances with the daffodils” (23-24). The daffodils and speaker’s heart is personified by the poet as dancing alongside each other. The speaker no longer has the feeling of loneliness because the memory of the daffodils keeps the speaker’s heart company by engaging in a “dance”. A dance is commonly seen as something elegant and harmonic that bonds people to one another and so the flowers replace the absence of other humans when the speaker feels lonely. The impact of nature is so strong that even a memory had made the speaker elated when they were dejected. The poem describes the healing power of nature on one’s mind and spirit. This demonstrates how the influence of nature on humans is unending.
It is evident that nature has the capability to create a sense of mental and spiritual fulfillment within a person as shown in the poem “I Wandered as Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth. Humans are fragile creatures that need comfort in times of need and the Wordsworth provided that escape people needed during hard times of the industrialization era in Victorian England. Wordsworth’s emphasis and clever use of imagery, repetition, and personification, make it apparent that the speaker in the poem develops an intense appreciation for nature to the extent that he finds comfort in just the memory of the daffodils. Nature replaced the sense of loneliness that the speaker felt with happiness and a sense of direction as the speaker no longer wandered aimlessly like an isolated cloud. The speaker values nature as an essential for the speaker’s mental and spiritual well being. This proves that nature ultimately plays a vital role in human life and it is clear that Wordsworth intended this into his poem. Though Wordsworth did direct this statement, it is seen in modern day that humans do not truly understand the value of nature. This sad a modern-day concern is neglected and ignored all while the environment of the Earth continues to be destroyed. This is not to say that humans will never change, perhaps humans will one day come to a realization and learn to greater appreciate the beauty in which nature creates and the fulfillment it provides.
Analysis of I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud Poem
The poem, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” consists of four stanzas, where the first three stanzas introduce the experience at hand only to have experienced justified within the fourth and final stanza. Within these stanzas is a distinct rhyming pattern of the first sentence rhyming with the third and the second rhyming with the fourth. The poem ends with a couplet and the lines of the poem are in an iambic tetrameter. All of this comes together to make the poem a Shakespearean Sonnet.
“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” brings the tension of Nature’s beauty and its importance. This tension builds steadily within the first three stanzas. Stanza one lays out the scene of the poem from a first person perspective, the first person being the “voice” of the poem. A simile is used to compare this voice to the loneliness of a cloud that hangs very high in the sky away from the world below. After establishing the feeling of lonesomeness the voice brings on the “host of golden daffodils” making them seem bigger than its solitary self and therefor something that needs to be seen.
The second stanza includes the building of nature’s beauty. In actuality the daffodils only stretch the length of the shore, but just like the previous stanza the voice gives them a bigger description by comparing them to that of the Milky Way, a galaxy that contains a trillion stars, including the sun. The voice also uses personification to bring the daffodils to life by saying that they were “tossing their head in sprightly dance.”
Within the third stanza is where the tension rises. Once more the voice glorifies the daffodils by saying that they outshine that of the sparkling waves. Also, the voice states that how could he not be “gay” or lighthearted when it is “in such a jocund company,” jocund also meaning lighthearted. Now confusion devours the voice as it can not distinguish what exactly this experience had brought to him. The author stresses this by using an anastrophe to pronounce the tension. It is this questioning of if this experience was worth anything that leaves the fourth stanza with the hope of resolution.
The final stanza begins with an anastrophe, again a way to stress a point, this point being the start of the solution. Not until the voice later reevaluates his day does it fully appreciate the sight of the daffodils. Once more the voice creates a solemn mood by stating that while upon its couch it is “in vacant or in pensive mood,” and then allows the daffodils to create a contrasting feelings by stating that, “my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils,” ending on not only a couplet but another anastrophe to stress the happiness that is created by the thought of those daffodils.
Feelings and Emotions in I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud Poem
The Romantic Poet, William Wordsworth (1770-1850) encapsulated a whole gamut of emotions when he wrote his famous poem about a patch of daffodils. He actually wrote two poems about the same subject, he improved on the first version and the second poem is the one which we know and love today. (The original is in the appendix at the end of this essay.) The first version was written in 1804, and the revised version was released in 1815.
The inspiration for Daffodils was set in train on April 15th 1802, when William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy were taking a leisurely stroll through Gowbarrow Park by the banks of Ullswater in the Lake District. They came across a large belt of daffodils stretching along the edges of the water. Dorothy Wordsworth was a recorder, she kept a very detailed diary, and she wrote a description of the scene in her book which her brother later used as a basis for his poem.
The poem itself on its first reading is charming in its simplicity. Wordsworth wrote four six line (quatrain-couplet) stanzas in iambic tetrameter using an ABABCC rhyming scheme. Wordsworth uses enjambment to convert the poem into a continuous flow of expression. (Enjambment being the running over of the sense and grammatical structure from one verse line or couplet to the next without a punctuated pause.)
Wordsworth describes the feelings and emotions that this group of flowers engender in him. The introduction shows him wandering aimlessly, as lonely as a cloud without any clear intention in mind when he suddenly comes across a band of yellow daffodils stretching into the distance. At this point in the poem Wordsworth makes use of hyperbole to describe the extent of the daffodils in his sight, ten thousand saw I at a glance.
He describes the flowers dancing in the breeze thereby giving them an almost human quality. The waves of Ullswater also danced, but Wordsworth felt that the daffodils outclassed the waves in beauty and joy. The daffodils are a symbol of natural beauty and represent in their light hearted fluttering dance the bliss and ecstasy of living a fulfilling life. One worth living. He felt that the scene was infectious, he couldnt help but feel happy amongst the group of flowers. He describes gazing on the scene without realising the profound effect it was having on him.
When it comes to the final stanza, Wordsworth switches from the past tense to the present tense as he explains what effect the memory of all this beauty and gaiety has had on him. He speaks about relaxing during quiet moments, and reflecting on the splendour of nature, as he remembers the great sweep of daffodils nestling at the waters edge.
In this last stanza, there are two lines,
They flash upon the inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude
and these, according to William Wordsworth, were actually written by his wife Mary, who lived with him and his sister Dorothy in Dove Cottage in Grasmere. Wordsworth further declared that in his opinion, these were the two best lines in all the poem.
Today daffodils still blossom of the banks of Ullswater. The clouds still float on high over the hills and vales of the lake District. We too can relax in our own moments of solitude and read Wordsworths Daffodil poem sharing with him the beauty of nature in a world in which nowadays human society has largely destroyed our own connection to the natural world.
Wordsworths original Daffodil poem written in 1804:-
I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high oer Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils;
Along the lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:-
A poet could not but be gay
In such a laughing company:
I gazed- and gazed- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had bought:
For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.
Wordsworth replaced dancing with golden; Along with Beside; and Ten thousand with Fluttering and to create his 1815 revision. He also added a stanza between the first and second and altered laughing to jocund. He left the last stanza untouched.