William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth Poems

William Wordsworth was an English poet whose verse is some of the most influential and important in the English language. He was one of the most prominent Romantic poets and served as Poet Laureate for the final seven years of his life. Read more about William Wordsworth.

Some of Wordsworth’s most famous poems include ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,’ ‘Lucy Gray‘, ‘The World is Too Much With Us,’ ‘My Heart Leaps Up,’ and ‘Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey.’

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

by William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth’s literary classic, ‘Daffodils,’ also known as ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,’ is one of the most popular poems in the English language. It is a quintessential poem of the Romantic movement.

Also known as "Daffodils," this is a famous poem by William Wordsworth, a key figure in the Romantic movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The poem reflects Wordsworth's focus on nature, imagination, and the power of memory. It is commonly regarded as his best poem and one of the greatest poems of the period.

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;

Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey

by William Wordsworth

‘Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey’ by William Wordsworth is a well-loved poem that describes a speaker’s return to a specific spot along the banks of the River Wye and his understanding of nature.

Wordsworth is considered one of the greatest poets of the Romantic period, and his poetry often reflects a deep love and reverence for nature, as well as a belief in the power of the imagination and the human spirit.

Five years have past; five summers, with the length

Of five long winters! and again I hear

These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs

With a soft inland murmur.—Once again

My Heart Leaps Up

by William Wordsworth

On the surface, William Wordsworth’s ‘My Heart Leaps Up’ is about the simple beauty of a rainbow. Looking at it more closely, the poet is saying people should maintain their sense of childlike wonder well into adulthood and old age.

This poem evokes the joy that Wordsworth imbued in much of his most affective verse.

My heart leaps up when I behold

A rainbow in the sky:

So was it when my life began;

Lines Written in Early Spring

by William Wordsworth

‘Lines Written in Early Spring’ by William Wordsworth is a beautiful landscape poem that is largely concerned with nature.

A beautiful poem that explores the power of nature, particularly spring. It is highly representative of Wordsworth's verse.

I heard a thousand blended notes,

While in a grove I sate reclined,

In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts

Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

London, 1802

by William Wordsworth
Unlike other Wordsworth poems, this one engages with social issues in a way that's still relevant today.

Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour:

England hath need of thee: she is a fen

Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,

Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,

Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood

by William Wordsworth
A fantastic poem that is a perfect representation of the themes and topics Wordsworth wrote about most often.

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, 

The earth, and every common sight, 

To me did seem 

Apparelled in celestial light, 

The glory and the freshness of a dream.

Surprised by Joy

by William Wordsworth

‘Surprised by Joy’ is a heart-breaking poem in which Wordsworth describes his grief after his daughter passed away.

This is a startlingly emotional Wordsworth poem that is also highly personal to the poet.

Surprised by joy—impatient as the Wind

I turned to share the transport—Oh! with whom

But Thee, long buried in the silent Tomb,

That spot which no vicissitude can find?

The Tables Turned

by William Wordsworth

In ‘The Tables Turned,’ Wordsworth invites us to break free from the constraints of modern society and rediscover the natural world’s beauty and wisdom.

'The Tables Turned' is a well-constructed poem with a unique meaning compared to all of William Wordsworth's other Nature poems. As a poet who wrote a lot about nature, this uses that same theme but advances it to a contrasting ironic piece of literature instead of a one focused. The back and forth in Wordsworth's persuasive tone, as he attempts to explain why nature is the true teacher, is a definite highlight in ironic poetry as the poem written on paper is the very concept the speaker wants the reader to discontinue.

Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;

Or surely you'll grow double:

Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;

Why all this toil and trouble?

She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways

by William Wordsworth

‘She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways’ was written in 1798. This poem is Wordsworth’s best known work from a series of five texts that form his “Lucy” series.

Wordsworth is one of the leading figures of the Romantic era, which emphasizes emotion, individual experience, and the beauty of nature. 'She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways' exemplifies these themes, exploring the profound effect of a simple, unnoticed woman on the speaker. Wordsworth's focus on an ordinary person as the subject matter reflects his democratic and egalitarian ideals, which marked a departure from the classical focus on heroes and grand themes.

She dwelt among the untrodden ways

Beside the springs of Dove,

A Maid whom there were none to praise

And very few to love:

Explore more poems from William Wordsworth

The Solitary Reaper

by William Wordsworth

“The Solitary Reaper” by William Wordsworth is a recollection of the poet’s emotional experience as he listens to a woman singing in the fields.

Behold her, single in the field,

Yon solitary Highland Lass!

Reaping and singing by herself;

Stop here, or gently pass!

Character of the Happy Warrior

by William Wordsworth

‘Character of the Happy Warrior’ by William Wordsworth is a poem about what it means to be a “happy warrior” and what the elements of this kind of person’s life would be. 

This is a great and very commonly quoted William Wordsworth poem, but it is not his best. Today, readers can find the poem in famous speeches, films, television shows, and much more. Pieces of the poem are often used to describe famous governmental leaders.

  Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he

That every man in arms should wish to be?

—It is the generous Spirit, who, when brought

Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought

Upon the plan that pleased his boyish thought:

To a Butterfly

by William Wordsworth

There are two poems by the title ‘To a Butterfly’ in William Wordsworth’s 1807 poetry collection, “Poems, in Two Volumes.” The first poem is the best-known in comparison to the latter one.

William Wordsworth was a leading Romantic movement figure known for his poems about nature and childhood. 'To A Butterfly' shares many of the same themes and concerns as Wordsworth's best-known poetry, including the power of nature to evoke deep emotions and the importance of childhood memories.

Stay near me - do not take thy flight!

A little longer stay in sight!

Much converse do I find in thee,

Historian of my infancy!

The Excursion

by William Wordsworth

‘The Excursion’ by William Wordsworth reflects on industrialization’s impact, highlighting progress and environmental concerns within a changing landscape.

This poem is a good representation of William Wordsworth's poetry. It encapsulates many of the themes, stylistic elements, and concerns that are prevalent throughout his body of work. These include a deep reverence for nature, exploration of the consequences of societal changes (especially industrialization), introspective and contemplative tones, vivid imagery and symbolism, complex emotions, and narrative elements. 'The Excursion' aligns with Wordsworth's poetic sensibilities and serves as an exemplar of his literary style and philosophical themes.

Meanwhile, at social Industry's command

How quick, how vast an increase. From the germ

Of some poor hamlet, rapidly produced

Here a huge town, continuous and compact

Anecdote for Fathers

by William Wordsworth

‘Anecdote for Fathers’ by William Wordsworth is an insightful poem about the wisdom of children. It brings the reader’s attention to a young boy’s observations about the world. 

Wordsworth's poetry, including 'Anecdote for Fathers,' often focuses on nature and the human experience. This poem is no exception, revealing the contrast between adult and child perspectives through a simple conversation. It emphasizes the unique insights of children and the harmonious relationship with nature.

I have a boy of five years old;

His face is fair and fresh to see;

His limbs are cast in beauty’s mold

And dearly he loves me.

To a Highland Girl

by William Wordsworth

‘To a Highland Girl’ by Wordsworth celebrates the beauty and innocence of the girl, her harmonious connection to nature.

This poem is a good representation of William Wordsworth's poems. It showcases several recurring themes in his work, such as the profound appreciation of nature, the celebration of beauty, the exploration of innocence and purity, and the contemplation of human emotions and connections. The poem also demonstrates Wordsworth's skill in using vivid imagery, emotional resonance, and reflective introspection, which are characteristic elements of his poetic style.

Sweet Highland Girl, a very shower

Of beauty is thy earthly dower!

Twice seven consenting years have shed

Their utmost bounty on thy head:

A Character

by William Wordsworth

‘A Character’ by William Wordsworth speaks on the moral character of a segment of mankind in relation to the feelings he has for the intended listener. 

I marvel how Nature could ever find space

For so many strange contrasts in one human face:

There's thought and no thought, and there's paleness and bloom

And bustle and sluggishness, pleasure and gloom.

A Complaint

by William Wordsworth

In the poem ‘A Complaint’ by William Wordsworth, the first and primary emotion is loss – loss of ideals, loss of friendship, loss of love.

There is a change—and I am poor;

Your love hath been, nor long ago,

A fountain at my fond heart's door,

Whose only business was to flow;

A Night Thought

by William Wordsworth

‘A Night Thought’ by William Wordsworth describes a speaker’s displeasure at those among the human race who do not appreciate what fortune has given them.  

Lo! where the Moon along the sky

Sails with her happy destiny;

Oft is she hid from mortal eye

Or dimly seen,

A Night-Piece

by William Wordsworth

———The sky is overcast

With a continuous cloud of texture close,

Heavy and wan, all whitened by the Moon,

Which through that veil is indistinctly seen

A Slumber did my Spirit Seal

by William Wordsworth

‘A Slumber did my Spirit Seal’ by William Wordsworth is one of five “Lucy” poems that Wordsworth published in the volume Lyrical Ballads, that he co-authored with Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

A slumber did my spirit seal;

I had no human fears:

She seemed a thing that could not feel

The touch of earthly years.

Animal Tranquility and Decay

by William Wordsworth

This fascinating poem, ‘Animal Tranquility and Decay,’ by William Wordsworth depicts an old man who walks in peace and tranquility. He seems to walk aloof from the cares and concerns of this world.

The little hedgerow birds,

That peck along the roads, regard him not.

He travels on, and in his face, his step,

His gait, is one expression: every limb,

Boat Stealing: The Prelude (Extract)

by William Wordsworth

In the extract of ‘The Prelude’, Wordsworth presents two contrasting ideas about nature to allow the reader to decide what nature means on a personal level.

One summer evening (led by her) I found

A little boat tied to a willow tree

Within a rocky cove, its usual home.

Straight I unloosed her chain, and stepping in

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802

by William Wordsworth

The poem, ‘Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802, is a celebration of this city, referencing to the bridge over the River Thames.

Earth has not any thing to show more fair:

Dull would he be of soul who could pass by

A sight so touching in its majesty:

This City now doth, like a garment, wear

Expostulation and Reply

by William Wordsworth

‘Expostulation and Reply’ a ballad, written by William Wordsworth, tells the story of Matthew, dissuading the speaker (William) from idling away his precious time in “wise passiveness” or simply daydreaming.

"Why, William, on that old gray stone,

"Thus for the length of half a day,

"Why, William, sit you thus alone,

"And dream your time away?

It is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free

by William Wordsworth

‘It is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free’ is a sonnet by William Wordsworth written after a walk in Calais with his nine-year-old daughter Caroline.

It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,

The holy time is quiet as a Nun

Breathless with adoration; the broad sun

Is sinking down in its tranquility;

It Was an April Morning: Fresh and Clear

by William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth’s characteristic use of imagery and figurative language regarding the natural world is on full display in ‘It Was an April Morning: Fresh and Clear.’ 

It was an April morning: fresh and clear

The Rivulet, delighting in its strength,

Ran with a young man's speed; and yet the voice

Of waters which the winter had supplied

Lucy Gray

by William Wordsworth

Any readers familiar with William Wordsworth’s poetry, such as ‘Lucy Gray,’ know that the death of a child is a common theme throughout his works. Wordsworth suffered the loss of his own son and daughter, and those deaths seem to forever haunt him.

Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray:

And, when I crossed the wild,

I chanced to see at break of day

The solitary child.


by William Wordsworth

Financial ruin, a lost son, and hostile living conditions– these are some of the striking features of this sorrowful ballad. You may find yourself asking, how can one man maintain his values amid so many struggles?

If from the public way you turn your steps

Up the tumultuous brook of Green-head Ghyll,

You will suppose that with an upright path

Your feet must struggle; in such bold ascent

Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent’s Narrow Room

by William Wordsworth

‘Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent’s Narrow Room’ by William Wordsworth is a thoughtful poem that expresses the poet’s appreciation for his chosen path. 

Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room;

And hermits are contented with their cells;

And students with their pensive citadels;

Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom,

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