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‘Daffodils’ or ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ is a notable Romantic poem written by William Wordsworth. Based on one of a stroll the poet took himself, this poem brings out the thoughts and feelings he had experienced then through the daffodils he had seen.
About the Poet:
William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was an eminent English poet. He is famed for being one of the founders of Romanticism. Famous works of his include ‘The Prelude’, ‘The Solitary Reaper’, and ‘Ode to Duty’.
Explanation of the Stanzas:
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.
The poem begins with the persona comparing themself to a cloud that wandered lonely ‘o’er vales and hills’. This line hints at the solidarity that encompassed the persona. All of sudden, however, the persona sees a group of daffodils ‘Beside the lake, beneath the trees’, swaying with 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.
Continuing on like the never-ending stars, the daffodils seemed to stretch forever. At just a mere glance, the persona could spot ten thousand daffodils, dancing under the sun.
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:
The waves from the ocean near the daffodils danced just like them, except, the daffodils were far better than them in their joy. The persona, revealed to be the poet himself, states that he couldn’t help but partake in their infectious happiness. The persona goes on to state how they had stared at the daffodils, unblinking, without realising their worth then.
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.
In the final stanza, the persona is reminiscent and wistful. Lying on their couch languorously when broody or thoughtful, the image of the daffodils conjured up in their mind. The peacefulness and the solitude they had offered would instant fill their heart with pleasure- their heart would thus go dance along with the daffodils he had seen once.
This is a beautiful poem that captures nature at its finest. Each line reveals how man and nature and entwined with each other and how nature had the power even to eradicate the loneliness present in human beings.