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.
(Poems in Two Volumes, 1807)
“The Daffodils” touches upon the subject of loneliness–a sentiment commonly felt at this time of year. However, Wordsworth advises his audience that it is possible to relish in this feeling, as one must only be reminded of its value. In other words, the “bliss of solitude” can be found by taking pause to appreciate what one encounters, alone. The cloud could be seen as lonely, but could also be seen as free. Free to gaze upon dancing daffodils; free to find other pleasures previously hidden by the distraction of companionship.
William Wordsworth was one of the main figures of the British Romanticism movement, and was Britain’s Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850.