Williams Wordsworth’s “I Wandered as a Cloud”: Analysis and Summary.
“I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud” analysis – This phrase is derived from the first stanza of the poem “Daffodils” by Williams Wordsworth.
‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ is a poem written by the romantic poet, Wordsworth in 1804. He wrote it after an encounter with daffodils after a walk through the countryside of the England Lake District. This poem became one of his most loved poems.
“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” is a quintessential poem of romanticism, with key ideas about the beauty of the natural world, humanity, and imagination.
From history, Williams Wordsworth had gone on that walk with his sister, Dorothy Wordsworth. She also had written her experience with the same nature of beautiful daffodils by the countryside in her journal.
According to Dorothy, it had been a windy day and as they walked, there were a lot of waves coming from the sea. Then, they came across a mass of beautiful dancing daffodils. This was very similar to William’s shared experience in his poem.
Other Names: “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.
Summary and Analysis
The beauty of this poem is in the feeling of human love for nature. Williams shared his encounter with these flowers so beautifully, any reader would imagine it as such. You can feel the same emotions he felt when walking through that countryside.
In stanza 1; Williams told of how he wandered through the countryside while feeling lonely and came upon a crowd of spell-binding daffodils just by the lake.
In stanza 2; he went ahead to describe them, likening them to stars and watching them flutter to the breeze which he depicted as them tossing their heads and dancing.
In stanza 3; Williams narrated how astounded he was at their sight, watching them dance in a way the waves were not to compare. He spoke of how much enjoyment he got from watching him.
In the concluding stanza; Williams tells of how much bliss the experience with the daffodils has brought to him because often in his time of solemnity, he recalls that moment and finds pleasure and dances just as the daffodils did.
Form and Structure
In rhyming, the poet uses parallelism which involves alliterations and consonance. Also, imagery is actively used to evoke the course of nature into the reader’s mind.
In the poem, “I Wandered as the Cloud”, two themes play a significant role; Nature and Memory. From nature, we can derive themes of the impact of nature on man, man’s involvement in nature, and the beauty of nature.
Williams Wordsworth wrote on the beauty of nature and referred a lot to nature. He describes the cloud, the landscape, and then unto the long thread of wildflowers cascading the fields. He finds glee and blithe in the natural beauty of that fateful day. This brightens his mind and revives his spirit.
The poem is a recollection of a day’s experience with nature and beautiful daffodils, therefore the theme, “memory”. This becomes clearer in stanza 4 as he elaborates that often he lays down, the memory of that day flashes in his inward. As a result, his heart dances just as the daffodils did.
Literary devices add flavor to any literary work, incorporating a flow that will always add beauty to the work. Williams Wordsworth used these devices to make his experience in this poem much more in-depth and enthralling.
Some of the literary devices used include:
This is found in the first stanza of the poem, “I wandered as a cloud”. Wordsworth made a direct comparison of himself to a single cloud. Also, in the first line of the second stanza, he compared the row of thousand daffodils to the stars that shine.
We can find Wordsworth’s use of metaphor in the third line of the last paragraph, where the phrase “inward eye” meant the memory of the daffodils.
Willian Wordsworth gave nature human forms in this poem. Repeatedly, he recalled that the flowers danced and at a point added that they tossed their heads. Even the wind did dance but was nothing compared to the flowers. In the fourth line of stanza 3, he related that he was gay in the jocund company which was that of flowers.
Wordsworth visualized his emotions in this poem with descriptive images that appealed to the visual senses. Terms like “a jocund company”, “lonely as a cloud”, “never-ending line”, etc, are descriptions enough to make a reader imagine how the scenario was.
The repetition of vowel sounds can be found in lines 3 and 5 of the second stanza, where the vowel sound /e/ was repeated in line 3 and the sound /a/ was repeated in line 5.
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6. Alliteration and Consonance:
Consonant sounds are repeated in lines 5 (sound /g/) and 6 (sound /t/) of stanza 3 and line 2 (sound /n/) of stanza 4.
“I Wandered as a Cloud” is a poem that describes nature in a way that awakens your emotions to the beauty of the world around you.
Williams Wordsworth derived an immeasurable amount of enjoyment from watching daffodils on a lonely day and his description of that experience has lived through time through his poem.
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