I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

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.

— William Wordsworth

In this poem, William Wordsworth goes on a journey to see the beauty of the world. He ventures alone and truly immerses himself in his surroundings. This is a kind of journey that William has to go on alone. If he was with others, he would not take the time to enjoy the beauty. William may feel pressured to engage in a conversation, he may be pressured to move through the scenery at a faster pace in order to satisfy the companions on the journey with him. Through solitude he is able to wander as a cloud, strolling along through life and enjoying its seemingly endless wonders.

The setting around William gives him golden writing material as a poet. The calming atmosphere allows him to be one with his thoughts. He is able to think about the golden daffodils in such an elaborate manner as they are his companion on his journey outdoors. The rhyming is consistent with every line or every other line. I enjoy this poem because I can truly envision the picture William paints within his poetry. This poem does a great job of highlighting the little things in life such as daffodils; the speaker goes into great detail analyzing the beauty of daffodils. If someone wants to get the most out of life, then they should take the time to admire the little things and get the most out of them.

I would argue the themes of the poem are nature and the writer’s memory of it. He highlights the beauty of the outside world. The happiness of his life has increased due to exploring nature, laying in the daffodils, and taking in his surroundings. William’s poem presents his detailed memory of his adventure wandering lonely as a cloud. His memories are vivid and truly showcase his descriptive abilities as a writer. The plot is simple but that is what makes the poem great. He is able to make something so simple as daffodils into a once in a lifetime beauty that fills his heart with pleasure and allowed him to truly enjoy the bliss of solitude.

In my opinion, the poem stands out because of the playful descriptions of the daffodils. An example is when he says “Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance”. In this quote, the reader can envision thousands of little flowers swirling in the wind. The pedals dancing in a multitude of directions without a care in the world. It seems as if the flowers are celebrating the beauty of nature and thus continuing William’s journey of being one with the outdoors. Overall, I would recommend this poem as a way to encourage people to adventure outside, take solo journeys, and embrace the little things such as the daffodils around them.

— Bryce Zaremby ’18


Wordsworth, William. “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.” Poetry Foundation.  Web.  https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45521/i-wandered-lonely-as-a-cloud

[For more by Wiliam Wordsworth, his collected poetry can be found for purchase here: https://www.amazon.com/Collected-William-Wordsworth-Poetry-Library/dp/1853264016]