I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
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/wandered-lonely-cloud-daffodils/happiness-theme.html
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.
Finding Solace in Nature: Daffodiles by William Wordsworth
The true meaning of life has and continues to be one of the most intriguing mysteries. With numerous having disputed to why nature performs the way it is towards humans and how one experiences a different perspective. In William Wordsworth’s ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud,’ he demonstrates that love and triumph can be nearby and in various forms. It becomes evident that happiness is firmly motivated through the love of nature. As Wordsworth conclusively exhibits his aspect of nature and life regarding a romantic audience, the poem unveils that nature can be the origin of paradise and peace for humans through various forms.
In ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud,’ at first glance, it may imply the poem is concerning a man who is very isolated and sorrowful, but it is ideally symbolizing nature. Woodsworth conclusively reveals that nature is a powerful force bridging joy to humans, but people might not consider it sufficiently. The speaker illustrates that he is persisting in portraying himself within the elegance of nature. The speaker’s voice is sincere and reflective, which is assumed to be from the author, affirming that ‘a poet could not be gay’ (Wordsworth 15). When the author notes, ‘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’ (Wordsworth 19), the speaker lies on his couch reflecting of a scene flashing into his head and filling him with delight. The poem is accustomed to educating people about romance and recognizing how to discover love. In the opening stanza of the poem, ‘I wandered lonely as a Cloud That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host of golden Daffodils; Beside the Lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze’ (Wordsworth 1), the poet introduces a person strolling unattended, sighting the hills, valleys, trees, and daffodils beside the lake’s breeze. From the line, a simile and personification can be identified from the man being compared to the cloud and the daffodils being accustomed human qualities of dancing. When Wordsworth wrote, ‘Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the Milky Way’ (Wordsworth 8), this line emerged from the rest of the poem as a source of imagery because the universe is magnificent but has no end in view. The plot progresses with the man daydreaming of this fascinating place forever developing his perspective of life, ‘I gazed- and gazed- but little thought What wealth the shew to me had brought’ (Wordsworth 17). In the end, the poem allowed for the reader to ponder of at least one memory that has the same result for him/her as the daffodils did for Wordsworth.
The author convincingly manifests his idea through a formal structure with elements of nature illustrated in the poem grouped in pairs. Each stanza has six lines, and in each one, the lines rhyme in alternating patterns with every other one sharing the same rhythm (1-3, 2-4, 5-6). The speaker develops his statements by including ‘I,’ dramatizing the voice. He introduces the writing in alienation and sorrow but ends with an enjoyable perspective. Wordsworth language is direct and clear as nature is appointed a social, gleeful quality when it is exemplified, ‘Tossing their heads in sprightly dance’ (Wordsworth 12). The vast amount of the daffodils is stressed to contrast their solidarity with the speaker’s isolation, ‘Ten thousand’ (Wordsworth 11). As the poem pursues onward, the speaker’s language indicates that he begins to visualize being with the flowers instead of observing them from afar, ‘I gazed’ (Wordsworth 17). The man is compared to a cloud in the poem, a natural subject, and flowers are personified as human beings, a unity between man and nature is created, ‘Fluttering and dancing in the breeze’/’I wandered lonely as a cloud’ (Wordsworth 1, 6). When Wordsworth presented the word ‘Wandered,’ he did not have a destination in mind, he was roaming around. Also, the word ‘host’ could occupy various meanings, but it represents his welcoming into nature.
A distinctive lyrical quality to ‘I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud’ (Wordsworth 1), appears evident that someone is singing in the background, dancing in a field of daffodils. The rhythm to the poem causes the words to flow together as if it is a song. While the poem does not have a defined rhyme scheme, it does seem to follow ABABCC (‘Cloud- Crowd,’ ‘Hills- Daffodils’). The end words of each stanza contain the importance of composing one to believe how essential nature is regarding Wordsworth and how it was his safe area when he was hesitant about the world around him. The sound of this poem is mostly euphonic with soft consonants that flow together, emphasizing the daffodils gentle beauty. The alliteration in the poem offers lyrical qualities of creating a dreamlike image. Wordsworth utilization of vowels rejects the harsh sound with a softer tone. The poem appears very comprehensive, describing the beauty of the scene that he is beholding; However, the entire poem is a metaphor describing Wordsworth’s separation from society and how he finds solace in nature. The iambic tetrameter style poem allows the reader to feel and apprehend the honor the poet has for what he is writing, ‘the waves beside them danced’ (Wordsworth 13).
William Wordsworth wrote this poem to celebrate his deep appreciation for nature, and highlighted its beauty, especially in comparison to humanity. He put a considerable amount of emotion into this poem and concentrated on the understanding of the daffodils when compared to actual human feelings. In a way, the Daffodils could be symbolic for modern medicine and therapy with mental issues such as depression. With the author able to effectively show his view of nature, in the end, the lesson of one not allowing time to pass on without experiencing life’s beautiful wonders became transparent.
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.
Stylistic Devices in I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud Poem
Simplicity of Life in William Wordsworth’s
“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”
In William Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” the speaker reminisces about a past experience in which he viewed a valley of daffodils swaying in the breeze. As he relives the scene, the speaker realizes the true beauty he hound that day. The poem illustrates that the simplest things in life often go unnoticed, when in reality, they are the most important. As a result, it is not until after the simplest things are gone forever that their importance is realized. Wordsworth clearly expresses through his choice of similes, personification, and diction that the simple things in life, such as nature, should be treasured.
Wordsworth uses simile to incorporate the significance of simplicity in life. The speaker begins his recollection with the emptiness he holds inside as he “wandered lonely as a cloud /That floats on high o’er vales and hill” (Wordsworth 1-2). This symbolizes the speaker’s need for something more fulfilling in his journey through life. Often, clouds wander aimlessly through the sky until they merged with more clouds to fill their emptiness. The speaker, perhaps feels separated from everything in life and is floating through the daffodils in hopes that he will discover fulfillment, similar to the aimless cloud being united with other clouds. The speaker does not recognize that purpose and happiness can be found in the patches of daffodils. It is the peaceful atmosphere of nature that allows a person to reflect on life and achieve inner harmony. The speaker deeply regrets not recognizing this at the time, but is thankful that he has the memory of this magnificent experience. Perkins notes that during his interaction with the beautiful scenery, the speaker (as the cloud) is the only object unaffected by the breeze as expressed in the poem (Perkins, 194). This echoed the speaker’s ignorance to the beauty of the scene at the time and communicates the importance of never taking the simple things for granted.
Through another simile, Wordsworth highlights the importance of the simple things in life by comparing the daffodils to the vast stars in heaven. The speaker expresses how the daffodils are “Continuous as the stars that shine/And twinkle on the Milky Way” (Wordsworth 10-11) because of the brilliant abundance he sees. Once again, by associating another part of nature, Wordsworth highlights the significance of nature in life. According to Brennan, associating the shining profusion of stars with flowers evokes a certain cause of sublimity: magnificence (Brennan, 141). Wordsworth uses this sublime splendor to illustrate that simplicity, such as ordinary daffodils, are just as fulfilling as something as magnificent as the stars.
In order to emphasize the importance of simple occurrences of life, Wordsworth incorporates personification into his poem. As the speaker gets his first glimpse of the daffodils he recalls that they were “Fluttering and dancing in the breeze (Wordsworth 6) as if they were celebrating a joyous occasion. The daffodils enchant the speaker with their carefree spirit. By personifying the daffodils, Wordsworth compares the flowers to humanity, therefore, causing the speaker to see that small and simple things are important to his future happiness. Moreover, the speaker recalls how the flowers stretched in never-ending line (Wordsworth 9) while “Tossing their heads in sprightly dance” (Wordsworth 12). The way the daffodils are brought to life makes the speaker realize that all he is lacking has been right in front of him. Through personification, Wordsworth displays the beauty and significance in choosing to appreciate the small moments in life.
The use of clear and precise diction is another way Wordsworth symbolizes the benefit of the simple aspects of life. As he recreates the scene in his mind, the speaker compares the daffodils to a “crowd” and a “host” (Wordsworth 3-4), therefore conveying the huge host before him, but foreshadowing the effect they will have upon him later. Furthermore, he adds the touch of “golden” (Wordsworth, 4) to the speaker’s description of the daffodils to emphasize the beauty of the flowers. The importance of the small things in life is clearly expressed through Wordsworth use of diction.
In his poem, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, Wordsworth uses elements, such as similes, personification and diction, to communicate the importance of getting the most out of life. Similar to the speaker, many begin to think that satisfaction in life is achieved through such things as material wealth and success. Ultimately happiness is achieved by being passionate and sentimental about past experiences and absorbing all the simple things of life.
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.