Saturday, January 20, 2018


I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud is a famous lyric poem by the English Romantic poet William Wordsworth. Widely known as Daffodils, the poem takes place in the Lake District of Northern England. It was first published in 1807 in Poems in Two Volumes, and a revised version was published in 1815.

The Central Subject and the Theme of the Poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”

The poem has the outlines of a narrative. The poet wanders through a landscape, is struck by the sight of a field of daffodils, and later, in moments of solitude, recalls the experience, seeing the field again in mind. However, this sketch does not fully explain what happens in the poem, fair Wordsworth develops the vision of the daffodils as the central event, emphasizing the act of seeing and exploring its philosophical significance. Thus the imagery describing the scene becomes particularly important, for it is through figurative language that Wordsworth explores the relationship between subject and object, humanity and nature.

The first image of the poem, "I wandered lonely as a cloud", immediately establishes both the poet's solitude and his connection with the natural world. He "floats above" the scene and yet is part of it. The sense a living nature which reaches out to the observer deepens as Wordsworth describes the field of daffodils. He compares the flowers to the "stars that shine/And twinkle on the milky way" and to the "sparkling waves" of a nearby lake. Thus a kind of fusion occurs by which heaven, earth, and water are joined in the vision of the dancing flowers. Both images convey the qualities of radiance and movement ("twinkle," "sparkle"). Together with the repetitions of the word "dance," these images create a picture of nature as vital, animated, and glowing.

The relationship between poet and landscape is one of intimate union, suggesting an identity of mood between subject and object:

“A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company;”

Finally, then, the experience of seeing ("I gazed—and gazed—") becomes the subject of the poem. The vision and the attendant emotion are what the poet brings away from the experience and later recreates in memory.

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