Thursday, May 3, 2007

William Wordsworth, "I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud"

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.

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.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

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.

The speaker in this poem is a man in a ruminative mood, describing a most inspiring scene of daffodils that he saw.

This poem is about a man who thinks of a beautiful landscape he had once come upon, when he is in empty, or pensive thought. A picturesque view of daffodils fills his mind and places him in a merry and cheerful mood. The view of the sparkling waves and bay are also beautiful, yet still unable to match the daffodils.

Wordsworth's choice of words throughout the poem intensify the mood felt from this poem. A happy, carefree, cheerful feeling is expressed in several lines. The daffodils are personified by "flutteting and dancing" (L6) and "tossing their heads in sprightly dance" (L12). This along with line 13-14's "but they... out-did the sparkling waves in glee" gives the daffodils a more vivid and lively image, adding to the overall warmth picked up.

Imagery is also present throughout much of the poem. "golden daffodils, beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering..." (L4-6) paints a scene of ardor and beauty. Words in the second stanza such as "shine", "twinkle", and "sprightly" all help to give a bright and happy view in mind.


Mr. Malley said...

Yes, Wordsworth is quite the romantic. I can't remember if you were doing the independent study thang while we were reading Frankenstein, but they share this element of romanticism. Many post-enlightenment poets and writers were of a school which attributed healing and restorative powers to nature. Wordsworth's poem is emblematic of this. I find it kind of cheesy. It's like, "oh, no matter how depressed I am, I'll always have my daffodils!" Blech!

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