Analysis of Daffodils by William Wordsworth

Have you ever been amazed by the beauty of yellow daffodils like the English poet William Wordsworth had done in his poem 'Daffodils'? Let's find out by analyzing the poem 'Daffodils' by William Wordsworth...
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The poem 'Daffodils' is also known by the title 'I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud', a lyrical poem written by William Wordsworth in 1804. It was published in 1815 in 'Collected Poems' with four stanzas. William Wordsworth is a well-known romantic poet who believed in conveying simple and creative expressions through his poems. He had quoted, "Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility". Thus, Daffodils is one of the most popular poems of the Romantic Age, unfolding the poet's excitement, love and praise for a field blossoming with daffodils.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850)

William Wordsworth was one of the major poets of his time honored as England's Poet Laureate. He was a nature poet who helped to coin the term 'Romanticism' in English Literature along with I.A. Richards in 1798, by the publication of 'Lyrical Ballads'. Some of the major works of William Wordsworth are:
  • Lyrical Ballads, With a Few Other Poems (1798) - Lines Composed a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey, We are Seven, Simon Lee, Lines Written in Early Spring
  • Lyrical Ballads, with Other Poems Volume 1 (1800) - Lucy Gray, Strange Fits of Passion Have I Known, She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways, Preface to the Lyrical Ballads
  • Poems, in Two Volumes (1807) - Ode: Intimations of Immortality, Daffodils, Resolution and Independence, Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, The World is Too Much With Us
Daffodils or 'I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud' Poem

William Wordsworth wrote Daffodils on a stormy day in spring, while walking along with his sister Dorothy near Ullswater Lake, in England. He imagined that the daffodils were dancing and invoking him to join and enjoy the breezy nature of the fields. Dorothy Wordsworth, the younger sister of William Wordsworth, found the poem so interesting that she took 'Daffodils' as the subject for her journal. The poem contains six lines in four stanzas, as an appreciation of daffodils.

Analysis of Daffodils

I wander'd lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vale 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.


Rhyming Scheme

The 'Daffodils' has a rhyming scheme throughout the poem. The rhyming scheme of the above stanza is ABAB ( A - cloud and crowd; B - hills and daffodils) and ending with a rhyming couplet CC (C - trees and breeze). The above stanza makes use of 'Enjambment' which converts the poem into a continuous flow of expressions without a pause.

Figures of Speech Used in the Poem

I wander'd lonely as a cloud - The first line makes nice use of personification and simile. The poet assumes himself to be a cloud (simile) floating in the sky. When Wordsworth says in the second line 'I' (poet as a cloud) look down at the valleys and mountains and appreciate the daffodils; it's the personification, where an inanimate object (cloud) possesses the quality of a human enabling it to see the daffodils. The line "Ten thousand saw I at a glance" is an exaggeration and a hyperbole, describing the scene of ten thousand daffodils, all together. Alliteration is the repetition of similar sounds, is applied for the word 'h', in the words - high and hills.

Title and Theme of the Poem

The title, 'Daffodils' is a simple word that reminds us about the arrival of the spring season, when the field is full of daffodils. Daffodils are yellow flowers, having an amazing shape and beautiful fragrance. A bunch of daffodils symbolize the joys and happiness of life.

The theme of the poem 'Daffodils' is a collection of human emotions inspired by nature that we may have neglected due to our busy lives. The daffodils imply beginning or rebirth for human beings, blessed with the grace of nature. The arrival of daffodils in the month of March is welcome and an enjoyable time to appreciate them!

Imagery

The poem paints images of lakes, fields, trees, stars in Ullswater. Wordsworth continuously praises the daffodils, comparing them to the Milky Way galaxy (in the second stanza), their dance (in the third stanza) and in the concluding stanza, dreams to join the daffodils in their dance.

The poem uses descriptive language throughout the stanzas. The poet cannot resist himself from participating in the dance of the daffodils. The wording is simple and melodious. Isn't Daffodils, a great gift idea of William Wordsworth that celebrates happiness of nature amongst us?
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Last Updated: September 22, 2011
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