I’d like to analyze a poem that was written by a famous English poet William Wordsworth “Daffodils”. William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850) was a Romantic poet and a major influence in bringing about the 18th centuries’ Romantic Age of Literature. An original poet for many different artistic qualities, his personality and emotional intelligence had made him the perfect forefather for a literary movement that would resound philosophically and poetically to this day.
Romanticism, defined by it predisposition towards nature and its deep emotional connection with the feelings of the poet, is what makes William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” such a perfect example of Romantic poetry.
One of the features of the poem is language simplicity that was realized both in structure and word-choice. If analyzing the line it is as a rule end-stopped. The meter is Iambic hexameter, i. e. it is a rising one. Within the poem the meter is constant with rare modifications that attract the reader’s attention on the meaning of those lines.
Such meter scheme is a sign of a cheerful, light and optimistic tone. The rhyme is masculine exact with cross rhymes in the first 4 lines followed with the couplet. This form of the structure is first – describing, second – emotional, and third – dynamic. The first-person speaker is a grown-up man who is philosophically-minded. The general tone of the lyrics is a little pessimistic in the beginning though the narrator admires the environment and satisfied in the ending. In the first stanza William Wordsworth describes his state of mind during a walk.
The author makes use of epithets here like “golden” – showing the connection between daffodils with luxury of the sun, the richness of the sky, its freedom; then there are metaphors that depict easy, light and bright glittering life as “cloud that floats”, “fluttering and dancing”. The only meter modification here is the last line “Fluttering and dancing in the breeze” that attracts the reader’s attention to the character of an action – it is cheerful, carefree and dreamy.
Some would say that the first stanza is rather depressive as the author uses such words as “lonely”, personification in “a crowd, /A host, of golden daffodils” – they sound hopeless and pressing. Nevertheless, the last two lines make the general emotion of the stanza. It is a daydream; the narrator’s thoughts are far away, unconcerned with the immediate circumstances in which he finds himself. Wordsworth, ever the Romanticist, perhaps uses these two introductory lines to describe the disconnected and dispassionate ways that e all live our lives; walking through life in a haze of daily ritual and monotonous distractions in a pointless and spiritually disinterested state where we fail as emotional creatures to appreciate the quiet beauties of life that we as human beings need for spiritual sustenance. William Wordsworth’s “lonely cloud” is our own private impersonal perception of the world, floating miles above it and missing the quiet virtues of nature, beauty, and other sources of emotional nourishment.
The second stanza opens with the description of the clouds with the help of different stylistic devices: simile – “as the stars”, hyperbole – “never-ending”, “ten thousand at a glance”, metaphor – “their heads”, and epithet – “sprightly”. These help the reader to visualize, to imagine and to feel the atmosphere and the mood of the walk with daffodils. So, the speaker here is depicted as having a moment of quiet introspection. The tone of the second stanza then is relaxing – the choice of words creates an image of a resort or a holiday: stars, shine, twinkle, margin of a bay, dance.
The second modification in meter is observed here in the last line: “Tossing their heads in sprightly dance” where this sprightly dance, to my mind, can be compared with red old wine of the highest quality. The third stanza contains the main idea of the text: “A poet could not be but gay,/ In such a jocund company”. The author means to say that the light and joyful society cannot but bring pleasure and wish to write for them, to tell about their happiness.
Such epithets as “sparkling” and “jocund” depict the privileged class. They have everything they need and now they can dance for everybody to gaze at them. The ending stanza brings the speaker back to his couch. Although the mood remains to be shiny, or “vacant, pensive” the narrator feels still in the dream dancing with the daffodils. This stanza has no modifications like the previous one which signifies achieving harmony, joy and calmness in the heart of the speaker.
For this the author also makes use of such stylistic devices as oxymoron “the bliss of solitude” that points out some positive moments of being alone, inversion “And then my heart with pleasure fills” shows the process and the character of this process of “filling the heart”. The main idea of the poem is that people are never alone – they are accompanied by nature beauty. The things around can make your heart beat, can touch a soul by the scene of a thousand-fold host of yellow daffodils swaying in the breeze against the backdrop of waters breaking against the rocks of the bay.
In William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, the daffodils become much more than mere flowers. They are a symbol of natural beauty and, more importantly, symbolize living a life as rich in experience and sensation as would make a life worth living. They represent, in their light-hearted dance, the joy and happiness of living an adoring and fulfilling life, embracing it for every drop of nectar it could so bring.