“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” (also commonly known as “Daffodils”) is a lyric poem by William Wordsworth. The poem was inspired by an event on 15 April 1802 in which Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy came across a “long belt” of daffodils. Wordsworth wrote the poem in 1804 and was published in 1807. A revised edition was published in 1815.
When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow Park we saw a few daffodils close to the waterside, we fancied that the lake had floated the seed ashore and that the little colony had so sprung up – But as we went along there were more and yet more and at last, under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever-changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here and there a little knot and a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity and unity and life of that one busy highway – We rested again and again. The Bays were stormy and we heard the waves at different distances and in the middle of the water like the Sea.
— Dorothy Wordsworth, The Grasmere Journal Thursday, 15 April 1802
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.
- Vales: Valley
- Jocund: cheerful and lighthearted
- Bliss: perfect happiness; great joy
1770 – 1850
William Wordsworth is considered one of the greatest English poets of all time. He was one of the founders of English Romanticism. The son of John and Ann Cookson Wordsworth, Wordsworth was born on April 7, 1770, in Cockermouth, Cumberland in England. Wordsworth is best known for Lyrical Ballads, co-written with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and The Prelude, a Romantic epic poem chronicling the “growth of a poet’s mind.”
“Tintern Abbey” is Wordsworth’s most famous poem, published in 1798. It is a conversational poem that contains elements of an Ode and dramatic monologue.