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Updated: Oct 29, 2020


I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud is a lyric poem with optimistic outlook on the world written by William Wordsworth. The poem was inspired by an event on 15 April 1802 in which Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy came across a “long belt” of daffodils around Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater, in the Lake District. It was first published in 1807 in Poems in Two Volumes, and a revised version was published in 1815. This poem is all about the familiar subject of beauty of nature and memory also known as “The Daffodils”. Nature’s majesty should be appreciated by interacting with them. Like Wordsworth has said, this poem is “a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotions recollected in tranquility”. Each line is metered in iambic tetrameter with a quatrain couplet, rhyme scheme ABABCC.


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 poet is moving aimlessly from place to place like a fragmented solitary cloud, those clouds floating in the sky, over the valleys and hills. Suddenly he is witnessing the long belt of golden daffodils at the side of a lake under the trees. Those daffodils are wavering beautifully by the blown breeze. He compares long belt of daffodils with the stars that shines and twinkles on the milky-way because, they seem to go on without ending along the bay (just like an everlasting impact on him). All of the ten thousand daffodils’ heads were moving as if they were dancing with full of energy.

Even the waves beside them boogied down but these flowers seem more with delight than those waves. The poet couldn’t dance along but he found himself being happy in the company of those cheerful daffodils. He keeps on staring at the daffodils, without realizing the positive effects (happiness and pleasant memory) of encountering them.

After this experience the poet often laid on the couch with vacant or deeply serious thoughts. Whenever he laid the images of daffodils flashed in his thoughts of imagination, which he considers as the bliss of solitude. These things filled his heart with pleasure and his mind danced along with the daffodils.

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