I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
by William Wordsworth
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.
Summary of I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
- Popularity: Written by William Wordsworth, this poem is a wonderful literary piece of nature’s description. It was first published in 1807 in Poems in Two Volume. It was written as a lyric poem to capture the bewitching beauty of the wildflowers and express a deeper feeling and emotions of the poet. It has become an eternal classic for describing the nature and its scenic beauty.
- “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” as a Poem of Nature: As this poem is about the captivating beauty of nature, it has been written from the subjective point of view. It details the poet’s encounters with the majestic daffodils in the field beside the lake. The expression of wonder can be felt throughout the poem. The feeling of enjoying the spellbinding beauty of nature and its impacts on the human mind can leave the reader desiring to spend more time with nature.
- Major Themes: The major theme of this poem is nature and human involvement in natural beauty. It also points to another theme – the impact of nature on a human. The poem encompasses the thoughts of an adult, why he meanders over the hills and how this sudden occurrence is a blessing in his solitude. The never-ending row of those enchanting flowers impresses him so much that he compares them with the sparkling stars of the galaxy. He is captivated by the startling view of nature. This everlasting impact, triggered by nature, often serves as a delight for the poet, when he feels low or in loneliness.
Analysis of Literary Devices in “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”
Literary devices are used to bring richness and clarity to the texts. The writers use them to make their texts appealing and meaningful. Wordsworth has also made the poem deeper and richer by using these devices. The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem is given below.
- Simile: Simile is a device used to compare one object to another to help readers understand or to clarify the meanings using ‘as’ or ‘like’. There are two similes used in this poem. “I wandered lonely as a cloud.” He compares his loneliness with a single cloud. The second is used in the opening line of the second stanza, “Continues as the stars that shine.” Here Wordsworth compares the endless row of daffodils with countless stars.
- Personification: Personification is to attribute human characteristics to lifeless objects. The poet has personified “daffodils” in the third line of the poem such as, “When all at once I saw a crowd.” The crowd shows the number of daffodils. The second example of personification is used in the second stanza as, “Tossing their heads and sprightly dance.” It shows that the Daffodils are humans that can dance. The third example is in the third stanza such as, “In a jocund company.” Here he considered the daffodils as his buoyant company.
- Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of the same consonant sounds in the same lines of poetry such as the use of /g/ sound in, “I gazed and gazed” and the use of /w/ sound in, “What wealth the show to me had brought.”
- Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /a/ in “Ten thousand I saw at a glance” and /e/ sound in “They stretched in never-ending.”
- Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds such as the sound of /t/ in “what wealth the show to me had brought” and /n/ sound in “in vacant or in pensive.”
- Metaphor: Wordsworth has used one metaphor in this poem in the last stanza as “They flash upon that inward eye.” Here “inward eye” represents the sweet memory of daffodils.
- Imagery: The use of imagery makes the reader visualize the writer’s feelings and emotions. Wordsworth has used images appealing to the sense of sight such as “lonely as a cloud”, “ a crowd”, “never-ending line”, ”milky way” and “jocund company.” These descriptions help the reader to imagine or feel the same joy felt by the speaker.
The careful glimpse of this analysis shows that the poet has skillfully projected his ideas using these literary devices. Their appropriate use has made this poem meditative and thoughtful for the reader.
Analysis of Poetic Devices in “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”
Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.
- Stanza: A stanza is the poetic form of some lines. In this poem, there are four stanzas with six lines in each stanza.
- Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows ABABCC rhyme scheme, where the first line rhymes with the third, and the second line rhymes with the fourth lines respectively.
- Iambic Tetrameter: The poem follows Iambic Tetrameter which means there are four feet per line, or each unstressed syllable is followed by a stressed syllable as in the first line of this poem such as “I wandered lone-ly as a ”
- Parallelism: It is the use of components in a sentence that is similar in their construction, sound, meaning or meter such as, “beside the lake, beneath the trees.”
Quotes to be Used
- The following lines can be used when narrating a holiday experience when enjoying a quiet time with nature and away from people.
“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;”
- These two lines can be used for children when teaching about heavenly bodies. For example, the expressions of twinkling and shining of the stars can be used to teach and envision the galaxies.
“Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way;”