Romanticism: I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud By William Wordsworth
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud also known as The Daffodils is a lyric poem composed by William Wordsmith. The poem was inspired by a long belt of daffodils that he came across while having a walk with his sister, Dorothy near Lake Ullswater in Grasmere. The poem is Wordsworth’s response towards the beauty of nature, and this is demonstrated in the manner in which he presents his deep emotions and feelings, rather than presenting the story in a witty observation. The poem expresses the influence and power nature has over people. This paper shall seek to explain the manner in which nature influences the lives of people and make them have hope in life. It will also explain the structure, form, and style the poet has used to express his emotions and feelings to his readers.
The entire poem uses a quatrain-couplet which has ABABCC rhyming scheme. Some of the rhyming words used in the poem include; cloud and crowd, glance and dance, lie and eye, among others. The rhyme in the poem is used to emphasize the poet’s description of the beauty of nature and to evoke emotions in the readers (Johnston 78). The poem has an iambic pentameter, and it plays an integral role in ensuring that the poet’s message has an impact on the readers. This is because it helps in the creation of the rhyme and the rhyme scheme. The poem, I Wandered as a Cloud illuminates two varied moods, merriness, and loneliness. It is also evident that the plot shows wandering as a way of finding memories that can comfort an individual from loneliness. This implies that wandering and experiencing the beauty of nature is essential to possess constructive thoughts that kill away loneliness. In order to reveal his solitude nature, the persona compares his life to the clouds. This is a clear demonstration of loneliness and the development of melancholy. The title of the poem, ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ first denotes a negative mood. The term ‘lonely’ depicts sadness and being alone with no one to talk to or share anything. On the other hand, the term ‘cloud’ is seductive, although dangerous at times. This is because clouds have the potential of coming together and forming beautiful pictures in the sky, or bringing gusty winds capable of leading one of his track (Woof 86). However, the poet demonstrates that nature can relieve one of all the loneliness and feelings of emptiness. For instance, he says, “…is the bliss of solitude.” This shows the joy he receives by having memories of the daffodils.
With the progression of the poem, the persona describes the view of nature that he and the sister had. He flashes through his memories of the things that delight him. In the first stanza, the poet asserts that he meets, “a host of golden daffodils,” and he uses personification and assonance to emphasize the poem’s tone. This is depicted in the manner in which the poem’s tone changes from a low-spirited into a cheerful and light-hearted one. According to him, the daffodils appear to be welcoming him since he uses the term ‘host’. The phrase, “beneath the tress, beside the lake, dancing and fluttering in the summer breeze” personifies the daffodils (Wordsworth). The poet has given the daffodils human attributes to emphasize the joy that they felt as they swayed on a day with clear skies and the soft breeze blowing. This can also be analyzed to imply that nature gives people freedom and joy.
In stanza two, the persona continues with his wandering journey, and this time round, he comes across a “never-ending line of stars.” In most cases, stars are usually a symbol of guidance when one is lost or in a state of confusion. From this, we can say that the speaker is coming out of his misery and is about to start experiencing joy. The fact that he looks at ten thousand stars in one glance shows that the stars were many. It is also worth noting that the stars are personified by having human attributes of tossing and dancing. The personification is aimed at giving readers an ecstatic sense to enable them to have a vivid picture of the persona’s experience. Other objects such as waves are personified in the next stanzas. They are also given human attributes of dancing and having glee. The personification helps in highlighting the tone and emphasizing the tone as it comes from a depressing or melancholic to a pleasurable one. The shift in tone is a clear indication that nature plays an integral role in the life of human beings. This is ascribed to the manner in which the reflection on the memories of nature makes the persona realize that he possesses one of the greatest wealth he needs in life. It is exciting to realize that this wealth is not money, but profound happiness. The use of words such as ‘bliss’ demonstrates his happiness every time he has memories of the flowers, as well as the manner in which they danced back at him that day.
In conclusion, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud demonstrates the beauty of nature, as well as its inspiring tendencies. The images used by the poet to describe the scene are similar to an artist painting a picture. This helps in making the readers appreciate and see the scene in his mind’s eye. The description enables readers to visualize the experience the poet had that day. Additionally, it is worth noting the significance of the way in which the poet gave the daffodils human attributes as he presented his emotions and feelings. The rhyming words alternating at the end of every line in the poem also played an integral part in giving the poem a sense of rhythm and continuity throughout. All these features combined enabled Wordsmith to epitomize the Romanticism literature that had dominated Europe in the nineteenth century.
Johnston, Kenneth. The Hidden Wordsworth. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2002. Print.
Woof, Robert. William Wordsworth: The Critical Heritage. New York: Routledge, 2001. Print.
Wordsworth, William. “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.” Bartleyby.com. 2012. Web. 12 Dec. 2012.