Daffodils (I Wandered Lonely as A Cloud) Summary & Analysis

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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.


      This poem Daffodils, was written in 1802. It is not an imaginary poem of Wordsworth, but based on actual observation and experience. Wordsworth’s sister, Dorothy gives us an account of the occasion which inspired Wordsworth to write this poem. “When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow Park, we saw a few daffodils close to the waterside.”

      Once the poet was roaming aimlessly beside a lake. He was all alone wandering aimlessly like a patch of cloud floating in the sky over hills and valleys. All of a sudden, he saw a large number of daffodils by the side of the lake, growing under the trees. They were of golden colour, and were waving and dancing in the air. They were countless in number, and they spread in a long line along the side of the lake. They looked like innumerable stars shining constantly in the sky in the form of Milky Way. At one glance the poet saw a huge number of them waving their heads, as if they were dancing out of joy. The waves of the lake were also dancing side by side with the daffodils. But their glittering dance was no match for the joy and gaiety of the flowers. The poet was seized with an ecstasy of delight. He felt that a poet who was sensitive to natural beauty could not help feeling happy in the company of such gay and beautiful flowers. He continued to look at them, little knowing then, what a great treasure he was collecting in his mind. In fact, that sight was being indelibly imprinted on his sensitive mind. In future, wherever the poet lay down on his couch, either in a vacant or a thoughtful mood, that beautiful scenery appeared, before his mind’s eye. In solitude, when the mind is undisturbed by outward things, old memories revive. Hence, when the memory of that sight appeared to the poet, he derived from it the same pleasure which he had enjoyed when he had actually seen it.


      The poem, Daffodils (I Wandered Lonely as A Cloud), is typically Wordsworthian. It brings out Nature at its best and rises her to a height which few poets can reach. It shows how Wordsworth took uncommon delight in the most commonplace things. Emotion recollected in tranquility is the chief factor with Wordsworth, and his emotion is stirred. But he does not give expression to his emotions then and there, nor does the emotion completely pass away from him the moment he withdraws from the scene. The emotions are not momentary or temporary. They are stored in the mind of the poet and become permanent and everlasting. They are recollected in tranquility which fills the mind of the poet with pleasure. The poet derives the same pleasure from his thoughts about the daffodils when he actually saw them:

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 words and the phrases used are simple but highly meaningful. The numerousness of the daffodils is expressed by the words a crowd, a host, continuous as the stars, they stretched in never-ending line, ten thousand saw I at a glance. Nature permeates the whole framework of the poem. The poet is wandering alone like a cloud, that floats on high over hills and. dales. What is most common has been fully blended with something lofty and transcendental. The daffodils are continuous as stars that shine and twinkle on the milky way / The daffodils outdid the sparkling waves in glee.

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