Daffodils by William Wordsworth

A Second Alternative Interpretation

William Wordsworth’s literary classic, Daffodils has been dissected methodically for explicating the poet’s mood, the surrounding location, the allegorical meanings and beauty of nature in full motion. The poet’s love and proximity with nature has inspired and moved generations-after-generations of poetry aficionados and young minds.

The speaker (William Wordsworth) himself is walking aimlessly down the hills and valley, when he stumbled upon a beautiful field of daffodils. The speaker is transfixed by the daffodils seemingly waving, fluttering, and dancing along the waterside. Albeit, the lake’s waves moved as fervently but beauty of daffodils outdid with flying colors. The poet feels immensely gleeful and chirpy at this mesmerizing naturalistic sight. Amongst the company of flowers, he remains transfixed at those daffodils wavering with full vigor. Oblivious to the poet is the fact that this wondrous scenery of daffodils brings the poet immense blithe and joy when he’s in a tense mood or perplexed for that matter. His heart breaths a new life and gives him exponential happiness at a sight worth thousand words.

The poetic analysis has been segmented into:

  • Poetic Form
  • Poetic Structure
  • Historical Perspective
  • Stanza Analysis
  • Personal Commentary


Poetic Form

The poetic form of Daffodils is composed of four stanzas of six lines each. It is an adherent to quatrain-couplet rhyming style, A-B-A-B-C-C. Every line conforms to iambic tetrameter.


Poetic Structure

The poem Daffodils works within the a-b-a-b-c-c parameter as it uses consistent rhyming to invoke nature at each stanza’s end. Moreover, it helps in creating imagery skillfully as the poet originally intended. The poem flows akin to a planned song in a rhythmic structure. Consonance and alliteration are used to create rhymes. More so, similes are also used since the poet alludes himself to an aimless cloud, as he takes a casual stroll. Moreover, daffodils are compared to star clusters in Milky Way to explicate the magnitude of daffodils fluttering freely beside the lake. At times, hyperbole is used to explicate the immensity of the situation. The allusion of daffodils to stars spread across Milky Way is one such instance. Furthermore, the daffodils are even made anthropomorphous in order to create a humanly portrayal of Mother Nature in this instance.

Moreover, the poet has also used reverse personifications, equating humans to clouds and daffodils to humans with constant movement. Using this clever tactic, the poet brings people closer to nature, becoming a hallmark of William Wordsworth most basic yet effectual methods for relating readers with nature, appreciating its pristine glory. Daffodils celebrate the beauty of nature and its purity, along with bliss of solitude. He deems his solitude as an asset and inspires him to living a meaningful life.


Daffodils Analysis (2)

Stanza 1

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

The poet explains about his one day occasional aimless wandering. The term wandered means walking free of accord. The poet is referring to himself as the ‘cloud’ in a metaphorical sense of the word. Although the clouds mostly travel in groups, this cloud prefers singular hovering. However, he clearly mentions his passing through valleys and hills on a routine walk, simplifying the narrative.

The poet comes across a bunch of daffodils fluttering in air. He’s dumbfounded by the beauty of those golden daffodils. Although, yellow would be more suitable for daffodils but the poet intends to signify its beauty by using golden color. The daffodils are termed as hosts/ crowd since they are together in a collective bunch. The daffodils are source of immense beauty for the poet hailing from Romantic Era.


Stanza 2

Besides the lake, beneath the trees

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way

The daffodils are firmly perched beside a lake, beneath some trees. It’s a windy day overall and the flowers dance and flutter as the wind blows. Let’s take a step back for a brief moment to locate the premises of the poet’s inspiration. The poet resided in the infamous Lake District, a region rich in scenic locations entailing hills, valleys and lakes. As a result, the location is realistic in its entirety. The poet refers to daffodils dancing, a trait relatable to humans.

The above allegory is a clear and direct referral to our native galaxy Milky Way. The space continuum holds great mystery for our Romantic Era poet as he envisions the daffodils to be in a constant state of wonder as are the stars beyond the reach of humans.


Stanza 3

The 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 poet makes an allusion to Milky Way, our galaxy filled with its own planetary solar systems stretched beyond infinity. The lake supposedly has a large area since the daffodils are dispersed along the shoreline. Along the Milky Way’s premises lie countless stars which the poet alludes to daffodils fluttering beside the lake.

By ten thousand, he meant a collection of daffodils were fluttering in air, spellbinding the poet at the beauty of the scene. It’s just a wild estimation at best as he supposes ten thousand daffodils at a glance. The term sprightly comes from sprite which is primarily dandy little spirits people deemed existed in such times. They are akin to fairies.


Historical Perspective

Hailed as the champion of Romantic Movement in early 19th century, William Wordsworth dwelled in scenic Lake District (United Kingdom), far from the madding crowd. Its roots can be traced back to Dorothy Wordsworth’s journal, in which she reminisces, a casual stroll with his brother in 1802, where they came across beautiful daffodils. The poem was composed within the time period of 1804-1807, and subsequently published in 1807, with a revised version published in 1815. The poem is considered as a masterpiece of Romantic Era poetry steeped in natural imagery. Walking along the Glencoyne Bay, the siblings stumbled across beautiful daffodils along the bay. As the sister’s journal recalls, the daffodils seemed immensely beautiful from a far-off view, it was truly a magnificent sight.


Personal Commentary

A relatively straightforward poem, Daffodils uses underlying subliminal messages, metaphors and free-flows in naturalism. The poem is breathtaking scenery of nature, flowing in fluid musical motion.

Plot is relatively simplistic with the poet taking a casual stroll one day, accidentally landing on a field of lively daffodils fluttering with full vigor. As a result, the vivid imagery becomes a prized memory for the poet, instilling in him with fresh energy and liveliness each time he remembers the scene. The poet efficiently uses characterization of memory with ‘flash upon the inward eye/ which is the bliss of solitude’, is a poetic gem, arousing vivid imagery in reader’s mind.

Moreover, countless generations of children and adults have enjoyed and remained transfixed by the fluidity of the poem, its magnificent imagery and ultimate peace it provides in a highly industrialized society.

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