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I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

By William Wordsworth

Wordsworth-romantic poemWilliam Wordsworth (April 7, 1770 - April 23, 1850) was an English Romantic poet who, along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped usher in the Romantic Age in English literature.

Wordsworth, Coleridge and the other Romantic poets engaged in creating poetry that emphasized feeling and intuition over reason and thinking. They envisioned poetry and art as mediators between nature and man. In his preface to Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth wrote that good poetry is "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings."

Wordsworth, himself, is characteristically known for his sense of man's spiritual connection to nature. I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud is a perfect example of his identifying with nature and expression of emotion.

To appreciate the Romantic aspects of Wordsworth's poem it would be helpful to review the tenets of British Romanticism. These would include the connection between nature and the supernatural; the shift from faith in reason to faith in the senses, feelings and imagination; from interest in urban society to interest in the rural and natural; from the scientific and dull to the mystical and infinite; and most significantly, intuition and the belief in importance of the individual.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud is one of Wordsworth's most beloved poems because of its simple, yet beautiful rhythms and rhymes, as well as its sentimental musings. His noble and expressive poetic style profoundly influenced both contemporary and future thought and literature.

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 stretch'd 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.

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