This is a day, a weekend, when I have been wandering as lonely as a Wordsworth cloud about the house and backyard.
It was on this very day in 1802 that William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy happened upon a profusion of daffodils along the banks of the nine-mile-long Ullswater Lake. Dorothy wrote down a detailed description of the daffodils that helped inspire Wordsworth to write the famous poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” five years later.
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.
William Wordsworth, born in Cumbria, England, began writing poetry in grammar school. His poetry is today often viewed somewhat dismissively.
I always admired the fact that before graduating from college, he went on a walking tour of Europe. From that walk, came his love for nature and his sympathy for the common man. Both are major themes in his poetry.
William Wordsworth is best known for Lyrical Ballads, co-written with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and The Prelude, a Romantic epic on the “growth of a poet’s mind.”