“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth Poem and Analysis

Daffodils“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth is a poem commonly known as “The Daffodils”. Let’s take a moment and go over a summary of the poem and then discuss it through a line-by-line analysis.

Summary

This poem is about the speaker who wanders throughout the land and comes upon a field of daffodils everywhere he goes. He feels great pleasure from it. Later, when the time has long gone, he thinks about the pleasure he felt while seeing it for the first time.

Analysis

Style: Four stanzas that are written in iambic tetra-meter with each stanza having the same rhyme scheme.
Theme: Being Alone
Tone: Joy
Rhyme scheme: ABABCC

Line-by-line Analysis and Figurative Language

    • I wandered lonely as a cloud / That floats on high o’er vales and hills, – The speaker walked around because he was lonely. Vales means valleys.
    • 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. – The speaker suddenly saw a field of daffodils moving in the wind.
    • Continuous as the stars that shine / And twinkle on the milky way, – Neverending
    • They stretched in never-ending line / Along the margin of a bay: – The went along the side of the bay.
    • Ten thousand saw I at a glance, / Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. – The speaker saw 10,000 with only a quick look. The daffodils swayed in the wind.
    • The waves beside them danced; but they / Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: – The waves were flowing yet the flowers moved more.
    • A poet could not but be gay, / In such a jocund company: – A poet can only be happy in such a happy place.
    • I gazed—and gazed—but little thought / What wealth the show to me had brought: – He looked but didn’t think. The scenery brought him great “wealth” – – joyfulness and memories.
    • 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; – Often times when the speaker is lying on his sofa alone, whether thinking deeply or without thought, the scenery of the daffodils comes to mind. And that is the happiness of being alone.
    • And then my heart with pleasure fills, / And dances with the daffodils. – after he thinks about the daffodils, he gets happy.

Poem: “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth

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.

Gary R. Hess

Gary was born and raised on a small farm in rural Kansas. Today, he is teaching various nationalities English in Southeast Asia. Get his newest poetry eBook here.