The lyrical poem ‘Daffodils’ is a well-known work of the leading 19th-century Romantic poet William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850). People know this poem by one more name that is “I wandered lonely as a cloud”.
|Poem Type||lyrical poem|
|Form (rhyme scheme)||iambic tetrameter ( ababcc )|
Though Wordsworth composed this beautiful lyric in 1804 the short poem was first published in 1807 in ‘Poems in Two Volumes’.
In terms of background, an event inspired this ‘high priest of Nature’ William Wordsworth to compose the poem ‘Daffodils’. One Day ( it was 15th April 1802), he as well as his sister Dorothy went to the Clarksons (at Eusemere); who (Clarksons) were their friends.
After that visit, when the brother and sister were returning to Grasmere, the two came to see a field of “golden daffodils’ who were in a large number. They were growing on the bank of Ullswater lake in the Lake District.
The mesmeric beauty of daffodils surprised William Wordsworth and his sister. Consequently, he wrote this outstanding 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. 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.
‘Daffodils’ Summary and Analysis:
Wordsworth says that once upon a time when he was alone and aimlessly walking in the style of “a cloud that floats” over hills as well as valleys. Soon he caught a fascinating sight of golden daffodils. The flowers were in a huge number.
They were situated beside the lake as well as under the trees. It seems to the poet that they were fluttering as well as dancing. In fact, the wind was blowing at that place, so it was moving/shaking those flowers.
In the second stanza, the poet says that to him the heart-touching scene of daffodils that were spread in the wide-area appeared like those stars who shine as well as a twinkle in the galaxy. Since the field of those flowers covered a big area of the land, so William Wordsworth makes use of the expression “never-ending line”.
It means the daffodils were visible as far as his eyes could see alongside the shoreline of the bay. The poet uses the hyperbole “ten thousand I saw at a glance” for showing the large quantity of the flowers.
He wants to say that he never saw so many daffodils in one sight (or at once). The poet felt that they were tossing their heads while dancing enthusiastically. Actually, there was movement in the flowers due to the blow of a light breeze.
The poet, in this stanza (3) tells that besides the energetic daffodils, the waves of the lake were dancing as well due to the effect of the blowing wind/light breeze. But, the poet did not find the shining waves of the lake as charming, glorious, and lovely as the marvellous scene of golden flowers.
According to him, he had no reason to be sorrowful when was in the company of those cheerful flowers. The scene of daffodils was so beautiful that he just looked at them again and again (and completely forgot his surroundings).
He, at that time, hardly thought about the wealth; it means the pleasure or joy that the attractive scene of golden flowers had brought for William Wordsworth.
The poet, in the final stanza, says that after that incident or event whenever he lies on his bed; free from his works or in a thoughtful mood, the golden flowers flash upon his imagination.
And generally, this happens when he is alone and none is near to him. Seeing them in his imagination, the poet’s heart fills with joy and it also “dances with the daffodils”.
The theme of the poem ‘Daffodils’
The romantic poet William Wordsworth is primarily known as a ‘Poet of Nature’. He breathes through it. Moreover, the poet gets comfort, spiritual peace, as well as the solution for every ( or all) problem of humanity ( ‘_’ it is his opinion) in Nature.
William Wordsworth seeks salvation through it as well. Coming to the poem ‘Daffodils’; it is not the exception of all that is mentioned (in the ‘Theme’ section). Its theme is based on the healing as well as refreshing capability of nature. The last stanza of the poem proves how easily nature lifts the spirit as well as the morale of a person. The poet says:
“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.”
William Wordsworth’s poem ‘Daffodils’ comprises four stanzas of six lines each. A stanza has a quatrain plus couplet. In this way, the poem’s rhyme scheme is ababcc. The poet used iambic tetrameter in each line.
‘Daffodils’ or ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ is a fine and short poem by Wordsworth. It describes an incident of seeing a “long belt” of flowers which are called daffodils while Wordsworth was moving aimlessly with Dorothy in the forest and this incident’s impact on the life of the poet.
Through this lyric, he depicts natural beauty using natural images as well as figurative language. Simile, hyperbole, personification etc. are those figures of speech that the poet skillfully used in this poem.
‘Daffodils’ is an often anthologized poem. Additionally, it is commonly regarded as the (or a) classic of English Romantic Poetry.