“Iwandered Lonely as a Cloud”by William Wordsworth
WilliamWordsworth was born on April 23rd1770, in Cockermouth, in the northwest part of England. Wordsworth isamong the eminent poets of the RomanticPeriod (Wordsworth 17).In fact, Wordsworth was among the poets that launched the RomanticPeriod, a different school of thought in English literature. Hecollaborated with one of his major influences, Samuel TaylorColeridge, to write LyricalBalladsin 1798, marking the beginning of the Romantic Period. The romanticperiod involved poets focusing on personal experiences rather thansocial issues with the aim of transforming the society. The periodwas characterized by the social upheavals caused by the IndustrialRevolution in Britain. Wordsworth’s autobiographical poem, “ThePrelude,” in 1785, successfully established him as a mainstreamEnglish poet (Brennan 140). The poem focused on his youth in which helyrically explained the experiences that he went through during hisformative years.
Wordsworthwas the second child of his five siblings. Wordsworth was brought upin the Lake District, a factor that had a major influence on the maintopic of his poetry, the appreciation of nature. Sadly, Wordsworthlost both of his parents before he was fifteen. The trauma of hischildhood caused Wordsworth to be occasionally separated from hissister, Dorothy, to whom he was very close after his parent’sdemise. Fascinated by the revolutionary ideas in France, he movedthere, but later returned to England due to growing tensions betweenEngland and France. Wordsworth reunited with Coleridge when hereturned England where they earned the title, theLake Poets.Together they were part of the team that established “The LiterarySociety.” The Literary Society was a group of artists, politicians,and other scholars from British literature that was based in London(Brennan 142).
Wordsworth’s“Lucy Poems,” is a series of five poems he composed between 1798and 1801. The first four of the poems had earlier been published inLyrical Ballads in 1800. The collection of poems was written in pureEnglish. Wordsworth used prose as a major style in LyricalBallads.The main themes in Lyrical Ballads were nature, death, beauty, andlonging. He was awarded as the position of Poet Laureate in 1843after the death of Robert Southey, one of his friends and majorinfluences.
Commonstyle and subjects
Wordsworthknew the common notion at that time, “that poetry should be aboutelevated subjects with a formal approach” (Conran 67). Instead, hewrote poems that touched on democratic themes about individual andcollective lives ordinary people, such as the poor in thecountryside, farmers, paupers and many other groups of people thatneeded societal and literary attention. As a way to deviate from theformal language used in poetry, Wordsworth wrote his poems usingsimple and ordinary diction that embodied realistic characters inreal situations. The Lyrical Ballads manifested all these features,marking the advent of Romanticism in literature. This explains whyWordsworth’s writing style involved using simple language thatcould be understood by ordinary people. The main themes inWordsworth’s poetry were beauty, aesthetics, nature, humanexperiences, love, and many other subjects that touched on theordinary person. An example of a poem that embodies Wordsworth themesis, “I wandered lonely as a cloud,” whose main theme is aperson’s experience of nature. In the poem, Wordsworth glorifiesnature through a simple and balanced choice of diction.
Explicationof “I wandered lonely as a cloud”
Asmentioned above, nature and the human mind were some of the themesthat Wordsworth wrote about in his poetry. The poem “I wanderedlonely like a cloud” literally talks about the daffodils, probablygrowing in the Lake Distinct where he grew up. The diction is simplein describing the pleasant of view of daffodils in the lake andbeneath the tree near it. The First stanza introduces the beautifulsight of daffodils and brings it to the viewer. They lines read asfollows “I wandered lonely as a cloud, /that floats on high o`ervales and hills.”(Wordsworth 10).
Thefirst two lines imply that the viewer had a feeling of happinessbefore they were fascinated by the beautiful view of the shiningdaffodils in the water and under the trees. The subsequent threelines in the first stanza explain how the fascination of seeing the“golden daffodils’” breaks the loneliness. Their fascinationpossibly comes from the beautiful and flattering appearance of thedaffodils as the cool breeze pushes along the lake. They read asfollows: When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, ofgolden daffodilsBeside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. (11)
Theword “crowd” in the third line of the above stanza refers to theappearance of many daffodils. The huge number of daffodil flowersmust have been an amazing scene to behold.
Thepoem also reveals another interesting fact about Wordsworth’swriting style: personification. In this poem, reverse personificationof the first stanzas takes effect in the later stanzas. The speakerin the poem is a wanderer personified as a cloud, watching andintrigued by the beauty of nature. It brings peace to the viewer. Thefollowing lines personify the cloud “Flash upon the inward eye /which is the bliss of solitude” (11).
Throughthe using of figures of speech and themes, Wordsworth used his poetryto portray an accurate tone and description of all the wonders andbeauty of nature in his own way, by giving us simple examples of hownature could affect the human spirit. He had a big influence on theRomantic Poetry. The daffodils are also personified as “dancing….andtossing their heads,” bringing in a human experience between thecloud and the daffodils. Wordworth’s diction embodies the metaphorof the romantic period. The reader has a first-hand experience withwhat goes on in the poet’s mind.
Brennan,Matthew C. "Wordsworth`s I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud." TheExplicator57.3 (1999): 140-143.
Conran,Anthony EM. "The Dialectic of Experience: A Study ofWordsworth`s Resolution and Independence." Publicationsof the Modern Language Association of America(1960): 66-74.
Wordsworth,William. "I Wandered Lonely 3 as a Cloud." (2007).
Wordsworth,William. Thepoetical works of William Wordsworth.E. Moxon, Son, and Company, 1869.