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Summary The speaker was walking around through the hills and valleys, but he felt all lonely and mopey. Suddenly, as he passed a lake, he noticed a big group of yellow daffodils waving in the breeze. This wasn't just some scattered patch of daffodils. We’re talking thousands and thousands around this particular bay. And all these flowers were dancing. Yes, the daffodils danced, and so did the waves of the lake. But the daffodils danced better. The speaker’s loneliness was replaced by joy, but he didn't even realize what a gift he has received until later. Now, whenever he’s feeling kind of blah, he just thinks of the daffodils, and his heart is happily dancing. Stanza 1 Summary Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line. Lines 1-2 I wandered lonely as a Cloud That floats on high o'er vales and Hills,
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 describes how he walked around and felt as lonely as a cloud. He doesn’t say, "walked around," but uses the much more descriptive word "wandered." "Wandered" means roaming around without a purpose, like when you explore something. So it’s not necessarily a bad thing. But in its metaphorical use, "wandered" can mean feeling purposeless and directionless in general. As in, you have questions like, "What’s the meaning of my life?"
We tend to think of daffodils as "yellow. which is filled with 2 . beneath the trees. The first concept that we want to take a look at is that the cloud is "lonely. those vague associations that attach to certain words. (Except in cartoons where you can have a single rain cloud following Wiley E. "host" and "crowd" mean pretty much the same thing. Suddenly ("all at once"). because clouds usually travel in groups. Its thoughts are just so "lofty. too. because people often refer to a "host of angels. It’s a breezy day. maybe the ones that float about valleys ("vales") and hills are lonely. Maybe now is a good time to step outside the poem for just a second to note that Wordsworth lived in a part of England known as the Lake District. It's more likely. A host. Lines 5-6 Beside the Lake. He sees the daffodils beside a lake and underneath some trees. But that still doesn’t explain the strange image." so they must be packed tightly together. Then he elaborates on "crowd" by adding the noun "host. A "crowd" is associated with groups of people. of golden Daffodils. while "host" is associated with angels. the cloud could be lonely because it floats over a natural landscape with no people in it. the speaker sees a group of daffodil flowers. Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. Also.) Maybe a cloud is lonely because it is so far above the rest of the world. Lines 3-4 When all at once I saw a crowd." but he uses the more majestic-sounding "golden. the speaker is projecting his own loneliness on the clouds. Ah. we seem to be dealing with some very special daffodils. Coyote around just to ruin his day. Yes." He calls them a "crowd. Are clouds lonely? Well." and maybe the speaker’s thoughts are. Maybe the speaker has thought of hills and valleys because he happens to be "wandering" through such a landscape. but that’s where the connotations come in." Asking questions about what this means will help us get into the poem." Coupled with the description of their angelic "golden" color." A host is just a big group. and the flowers "flutter" and "dance" on their stems. These are some of the questions we’re hoping the poem will help us sort out after this mysterious beginning.
It’s not a perfectly clear line. The daffodils are given the qualities of humans and also of some kind of otherworldly creatures. back to the poem. Stanza 2 Summary Get out the microscope. which must be a relatively large lake. More daffodils than he has probably ever seen before. Lines 9-10 They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Like the Milky Way galaxy. which could bring us back to the angels or even birds or butterflies. but most are concentrated on the shore. The emphasizes the point that there are a whole lot of daffodils. these are flowers that usually grow in scattered groups in the wild or in people’s well-tended gardens. If you’ve ever seen the Milky Way (or the photo in the link above). valleys and. The comparison to stars provides new evidence that the speaker is trying to make us think of angels or other heavenly beings. of course. like the stars in the Milky Way galaxy. The flowers stretch "continuously. the flowers are roughly concentrated in a line that seems to stretch as far as the eye can see ("never-ending"). Now. Lines 11-12 Ten thousand saw I at a glance. perhaps." without a break. lakes. We imagine the same effect with the flowers. They flowers line the shore ("margin") of a bay of the lake.lots of hills. We can assume he’s walking in a fairly remote and wild part of the countryside. Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. you know that the galaxy appears to be a band that has more stars and a brighter appearance than the night sky around it. Lines 7-8 Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way. After all. "Dancing" is something that usually only humans do. It’s not as if there are no flowers outside the shore of the lake. but more like a fuzzy approximation of a line. each one gleaming like a star. because we’re going through this poem line -by-line. "Fluttering" suggests flight. 3 .
Since waves do not bring as much joy as the yellow flowers. Wow. buddy." which creates yet another association with the stars. The speaker takes in "ten thousand" dancing flowers at once. but just guessing. almost like fairies Stanza 3 Summary Get out the microscope. Lines 15-16 A Poet could not but be gay." which refers to the playful little spirits that people once thought inhabited nature. the speaker is not actually counting. "a poet. (We’ve haven’t seen you since the first line. he’s fast at counting if he knows the number after only a quick glance. (It's like when you try to guess the number of gumballs in a jar. the flowers "out-did" the water with their happiness. Maybe they were even cresting into whitecaps.) Except he refers to himself in the first person.) The flowers "toss their hands" while dancing to the wind. by his vocation. We know from Dorothy Wordsworth’s journal (see "In a Nutshell") that the day that inspired this poem was a stormy one. but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: The waves also dance in the breeze. the weight of which causes the rest of the flower to bob. Lines 13-14 The waves beside them danced. But. but the daffodils seem happier than the waves. of course. In such a jocund company: The speaker reenters the poem. "Sprites" are supernatural beings. Everything seems to be gleaming and twinkling and shining and sparkling. That’s a lot of daffodils." 4 . so the waves on this medium-to-large sized lake must have been larger than usual. The point is that the entire scene has suddenly been invested with a joyful human-like presence. The waves "sparkle. By "heads" we think he means the part of the flower with the petals. "Sprightly" means happily or merrily. because we’re going through this poem line -by-line. The word derives from "sprite.
as he puts at. The word "wealth" expresses a more permanent kind of happiness. The flowers and waves feel like companions to him. Sometimes his mind is empty and "vacant. At other times he feels "pensive. because he seems to be really enjoying those daffodils. You can’t be both "vacant" and "pensive" because one means "not thinking. He moves suddenly into the future. when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood. It also carries a hint of money that does not quite fit with the supernatural language that has come before Stanza 4 Summary Get out the microscope. kind of feeling blah about life. back from the lake and the windy day. First. It's as if the speaker enjoys looking at these daffodils at the time." But he groups the two experiences together because both are vaguely unpleasant and dissatisfying." like a bored teenager sitting on the sofa after school and trying to decide what to do. Despite his earlier loneliness. the speaker doesn't think that he fully appreciated the vision at the time. with such joyful and carefree ("jocund") "company" to hang out with. or "gay. They are all pals. he sets the scene: he often sits on his couch. Apparently. This is a bit odd. something he does often. He’s describing a habitual action. Lines 19-20 For oft. Now the speaker explains why the daffodils were such a great gift to him. because we’re going through this poem line -by-line. the speaker now can’t help but feel happy. but doesn’t realiz e exactly how great of a gift he has just received with this vision." which means he thinks kind-of-sad thoughts. Or." and the other means "thinking while feeling blue." with such a beautiful vision to look at. with no great thoughts and sights. Group hug! Lines 17-18 I gazed--and gazed--but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought: The repetition of "gaze" tells us that he kept looking at the flowers for a long time. Lines 21-22 5 .
he feels happy again. The memory of the daffodils is as good as the real thing. Simile: 6 . A person cannot share his or her own spiritual vision completely with others. when the real daffodils pushed the loneliness out of his head. Personification/Metaphor: Comparison of daffodils to dancing humans (lines 4. beneath the trees." Why does the speaker think of daffodils in exactly these moments? Maybe it's because the contrast between their joy and his unhappiness is so striking. And dances with the Daffodils When the memory of the flowers and the lake flashes into his head. (Note that the w and o have the same consonant sound. The "inward eye" expresses what Wordsworth felt to be a deeper. (line 1) Alliteration: high o'er vales and Hills (line 2). the vision is spontaneous. Lines 23-24 And then my heart with pleasure fills. often when our speaker gets in these downer moods.They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude. just like the flowers. 6).) Personification/Metaphor: Comparison of daffodils to a crowd of people (lines 3-4)." But its truth and beauty make it "blissful. like a crack of lightning. Alliteration: When all at once (line 3). So. Nonetheless. It’s almost like the same experience he had while "wandering" through nature at the beginning of the poem. He dances along "with" them – they are his cheerful companions once again. Alliteration: Beside the Lake. the image of the daffodils "flashes" through his mind. truer spiritual vision. Personification: Comparison of the cloud to a lonely human. and so it is a form of "solitude. Simile: Comparison (using as) of the speaker's solitariness to that of a cloud (line 1). Figures of speech: Stanza 1 Alliteration: lonely as a cloud (line 1). His heart is set to dancing.
What wealth the show to me had brought: the poet imagines the happiness that is brought to him by the beautiful scene of the flowers as a wealth.(definition) 1.Fluttering and dancing in the breeze The poet personifies the daffodils and gives them a human attribute which is dancing. (definition) 1. the daffodils are better than the waves in their happiness. The poet's choice of the word "wealth" suits his description of the flowers . Also. as. Personification: A figure of speech in which human attributes are given to an animal. So. 2. Metaphor: When you liken something to another thing without using like. an object. Comparison: 1.Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: The poets holds a comparison between the waves that are dancing in the lake and the daffodils. this comparison suggests the excellence of the daffodils over the waves. This metaphor suggests the poet's high valuation to the effect of the wonderful nature scene on him.Continuous as the stars that shine The poet likens the daffodils to the stars that shine in the sky in their large number and in the way they shine. the poet thinks of himself as a cloud in the sense of being free. in the first stanza. This simile suggests the endless number of the daffodils and their shining colors. as. etc. (definition) 1.I wandered lonely as a cloud The poet likens himself as he was wandering alone to a cloud. etc. as being golden. This image suggests their happiness. This simile suggests the loneliness of the poet which resembles the loneliness of the cloud that is moving high in the sky far away from people. 7 . According to the poet. or a concept.When you liken something to another thing by using like.
it denotes the happiness and liveliness of the flowers. (When you think about it. In the 1st stanza. Lines 12: The personification of the daffodils becomes more specific. Lines 6: Daffodils cannot actually "dance. In the last stanza. Dance Revolution) Symbol Analysis In "I wandered lonely as a Cloud..) Lines 13-14: The waves also get in on some of the dancing (and personification) action. it creates a sense of harmonious relationship between the daffodils and the waves. it refers that this harmony is advanced to include the poet himself. as demonstrated in the third stanza: The Daffodils (Dance. The "heads" of the daffodils are the part of the flower with the petals. It is larger and heavier than the stem. In the 2nd stanza. Line 9: The speaker says that the line of daffodils is "never-ending. Structure and Rhyme Scheme The poem contains four stanzas of six lines each.. and he can tell that they are happy because they dance." the daffodils are like little yellow people who keep the speaker company when he is feeling lonely. In each stanza." so Wordsworth is ascribing to them an action that is associated with people. The stanza then ends with a rhyming couplet (Two successive lines of poetry with end rhyme).The word "dance" is repeated 3 times in his poem.. We often think of daffodils as a flower that people plant in their gardens in the springtime. This is an example of hyperbole." but we know this can’t be strictly true: all good things come to an end. Some variation of the word "dance" occurs in each of the four stanzas. This personification will continue throughout the poem.. Wordsworth unifies the content of the poem by focusing the first three stanzas on the experience at the lake and the last stanza on the memory of that experience.. Also. Lines 3-4: The daffodils are personified as a crowd of people. it’s kind of amazing how flowers support themselves at all. and so it bobs in a breeze. the first line rhymes with the third and the second with the fourth. The happiness of the daffodils can always cheer him up. 8 . or exaggeration. Meter . the speaker is taken aback by how many daffodils there are.The lines in the poem are in iambic tetrameter. but the daffodils are not to be out-done – they are happier than the waves.. so it would be surprising to come upon thousands of them by an isolated lake.
in which all the angels and blessed souls of heaven form a big flower. too. Maybe he was thinking of Dante’s Paradiso from The Divine Comedy. and so the imagery of angels is extremely subtle. for which he uses the metaphor of an "inward eye. 9 . Sky." His heart dances like a person. Clouds can’t be lonely.e. clouds. Also. too. Angels and Spirits Symbol Analysis You have to read into the poem a bit. distant and separated from the world below. Line 12: The word "sprightly" is derived from the word "sprite. so we have another example of personification. Lines 21-24: Wordsworth imagines the daffodils in his spiritual vision. Line 4: You may have heard the phrase. It’s as if the problem at the beginning is that he hasn’t ascended high enough. "heavenly host" in reference to angels or spirits. But this distance becomes a good thing when he comes upon the daffodils. which are like little stars. Line 10: Stars are associated with angels. otherworldly atmosphere that is suggested by the title. but we think that Wordsworth is definitely trying to associate the flowers with angelic or heavenly beings. However. strictly realistic) poet than Dante. and Heavens Symbol Analysis "I wandered lonely as a Cloud" has the remote." meaning a local spirit. the color of the flowers is golden like a halo. so the simile comparing the flowers to "twinkling" stars reinforces the connection. We think Wordsworth adds the word "host" in order to suggest this connection.. The speaker feels like a cloud. Lines 1-2: The beginning of the poem makes a simile between the speaker’s wandering and the "lonely" distant movements of a single cloud. Lines 7-8: The second stanza begins with a simile comparing the shape and number of the daffodils to the band of stars that we call the Milky Way galaxy. almost like a fairy. Wordsworth is a more naturalistic (i.
next to a lake and under some trees. as anyone who has seen the documentary Planet Earth or the Disney movie Earth knows. His happiness does not last forever – he’s not that unrealistic – but the daffodils give him a little boost of joy whenever he needs it. "How’d those get there?" she wondered. you can use your imagination to fine new friends in the world around you. Wordsworth's sister Dorothy wrote about their surprise at finding so many daffodils in such a strange place. the memory of beautiful things serves as a comfort to the speaker even after the experience of viewing them has ended. 4. and the "bliss" of heaven occurs in speaker’s imagination. Theme of Man and the Natural World Wordsworth is the granddaddy of all nature poets. In the case of "I wandered lonely as a Cloud. He appreciates its wildness and unpredictability. "The mind is its own place. 2. He uses Christian ideas and images to make an ode to nature without any reference to God. viewed the natural world as a spiritual realm. Wordsworth’s nature is full of life and vitality. like recharging his batteries. and he’s in top form in "I wandered lonely as a Cloud." The speaker of this poem makes a heaven out of a windy day and a bunch of daffodils." which has been used by later critics to describe how the Romantic poets. As John Milton famously wrote. It says that even when you are by yourself and lonely and missing your friends. The idea is that Heaven comes down to earth and is viewed as part of the world. Theme of Happiness "I wandered lonely as a Cloud" is a poem that just makes you feel good about life. but he humanizes the landscape and fits it to his own mind. even guessing that maybe the seeds floated across the lake." one of Wordsworth’s other most famous works. The daffodils are like angels and twinkling stars. Theme of Spirituality The 19th century Scottish writer Thomas Carlyle coined the phrase "natural supernaturalism." In her journal entry about the day in question. 3. and in itself. Theme of Memory and the Past "I wandered lonely as a Cloud" is almost like a simpler version of "Tintern Abbey. This poem illustrates the principle of natural supernaturalism. can make heaven of Hell. He can always draw on his imagination to reproduce the joy of the event and to remember the spiritual wisdom that it provided. The event is one of the minor miracles that nature produces all the time." we do not 10 . and especially Wordsworth.Themes 1. In both poems. and a hell of Heaven.
when he describes just how often the daffodils have comforted him 11 .realize just how far in the future the speaker’s perspective is located until the fourth stanza.
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