Puget Sound English Department

April 17, 2009

Wordsworth’s Daffodils

Filed under: Activities off Campus,Literature — O. @ 2:41 am

daffodils

(image: daffodils in the Lake Country)

You may have noticed that daffodils have emerged in the Pacific Northwest. They are cousins of daffodils in England and elsewhere and may be on close genetic speaking-terms with the daffodils in England’s Lake Country, where William Wordsworth wrote what is probably the most famous poem about such flowers. The untitled poem is often referred to now by its first line, “I wander’d lonely as a cloud”:

I WANDER’D 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

Outdid 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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