Summary and Analysis of Daffodils by William Wordsworth

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I hope you’ll enjoy reading this summary of daffodils by William Wordsworth. Imagination has been the source of Wordsworth’s poetry. Nature is seen as a guide/angel, a source of Wisdom in every poetic work of Wordsworth. Simplicity, mysticism, spontaneity, and individual freedom forms the keynote of Wordsworth’s poems. Daffodils or I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud is a poem known for its exceptional simplicity, yet re-fineness of its thoughts.


Summary of Daffodils by William Wordsworth:

Introduction

The poem was written in the year 1802. It was first published in Poems in Two Volumes, in 1807. The very starting line of the poem “I wandered lonely as a cloud” informs the poet’s profound sentiments of being left alone. It was actually the death of his brother John that led him to “loneliness”. We should remind the readers that this poem was not a result of imagination. Dorothy, Wordsworth’s sister provides us with an explanation of the occasion which inspired Wordsworth to produce this masterpiece:–
“When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park, we saw a few daffodils close to the waterside.” Thus the poem is a result of actual visualization rather than imagery”.

Analysis of Daffodils:

Insights

In the beginning lines, Wordsworth describes himself as a ‘cloud’ that floats over the hills. This presents an idea of seclusion. The idea of being alone is contradicted by the phrase “crowd” (line 3). This is actually the ‘setting of the poem‘. As human form Wordsworth prefers seclusion but the ‘crowd’ of daffodils bewilders his senses. The feeling of ecstasy suddenly makes a dive.

The setting of the Poem:

Wordsworth may be at discomfort in human multitude but not amidst the objects (crowd) of Nature.
Nature permeates the entire poem. Phrases like a crowd, a host, continuous as the stars, they stretched in never-ending lines,

“ten thousands saw eye at a glance

presents deep implications. The poet says:

“I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on the high o’er Wales and hills”.

Daffodils, an everyday found flower has been portrayed in magical verses and blended with transcendental romanticism. Even the daffodils outdid the sparkling waves in glee and left an everlasting mark in the mind of the readers of this poem.

Complete Summary of Daffodils by William Wordsworth

Here’s a brief summary of daffodils:

Once the poet was wandering pointlessly beside a lake, he was all alone to wander freely akin to a patch of clouds floating in the sky, over the valleys and the hill. Suddenly he could view a large number of daffodils gathered by the side of the lake. They were sheltered under a growing tree. The Daffodils resembles the colour of gold(1) (according to the poet)and the airy breeze made them wave and dance, rejoice and play. The poet, however, could not estimate their number as they spread along extensive sides of the lake.

(1)Daffodils is a commonly grown flower.The line: ‘A host, of golden daffodils;’ needs a special mention since it unveils the poet’s thoughts. Wordsworth associated the colour of richness: Gold; to his common flower.

They resemble akin to innumerable shining stars that one could see in the night sky in the form of Milky Way. As the poet made an instant glance, he could see myriad of daffodils waving their heads, as if they were rejoicing and dancing out of alacrity. Seeing this, the waves of the lake accompanied dancing along with these daffodils, but their lustrous dance was in no way comparable to the delight and gaiety of the flowers the poets seems to have frenzied with; an ecstasy of delight.


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He realized that a poet who was susceptible to natural grace could not help but feel happy in the presence of such gay and beautiful flowers. He gazed at them, hardly knowing what enormous treasure he was accumulating in his mind.
That vista was impregnated in the poet’s mind for an everlasting time. In future, when the poet lied down on his couch, either in a lonely or a pensive mood, the entire panorama that he saw in the woods beyond the Gowbarrow Park appeared before his mind’s eye. In solitude, when his mind is unrestrained by disturbing elements of the real world, he revives the memories of the daffodils. When the memory of that sight comes into view of the poet, he was able to derive ecstatic pleasure which he had enjoyed actually.

Analysis of Daffodils by William Wordsworth:

I wandered lonely as a cloud that floats on high o’er vales and hills 

For oft, when on my couch I lie, in vacant…with pleasures fills”.

In the starting of the poem, the poet was floating high but was morally low. As we come to the end of the poem, the poet, in spite being on the couch (low) was morally high.

The mood of the Poem Daffodils:

The poem goes through a gradual shift from “wandered lonely” (line 1) to “but be gay” (line 15) and pleasures fill (line 23). This in actual reflects Wordsworth’s life. The feeling of loneliness was marked by the death of his brother John. Dorothy had been a great sister to Wordsworth and also Wordsworth got married in the same year 1802 (his second marriage). These life events were actually responsible for Wordsworth’s actually happiness in his life and thus correlates with Daffodils.

Wordsworth’s Style:

Daffodils analysis will be incomplete without illustrating the tone of the poem. This poem is typically Wordsworthian. Its portray Nature at its best and encompasses her grace to the pinnacle which every poet cannot reach. It projects Wordsworth’s extraordinary delight in understanding and exploring commonplace things (key point). Emotions recollected in tranquillity are the distinguishing factor which differentiates Wordsworth from other poets. The emotions associated with Wordsworth in this poem, Daffodils is not ephemeral but rather permanent and everlasting. The poet derives the same bliss from his thoughts about the daffodil when he actually saw them.

“They flashed upon the inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude:
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dance with the daffodils.”

About Wordsworth:

Wordsworth stands supreme as a nature poet. Born at Cockermouth in the year 1770, he spent his childhood amidst nature and grew up to believe n the essential goodness of humanity. He was sent to St. John’s College, Cambridge, 1787. After his return from France, he stayed with his sister and Coleridge. He got married in 1802.

Suggested Reading: Summary of Daffodils by William Wordsworth in Hindi 

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Here is a complete video explanation of the poem Daffodils

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64 Comments
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    1. Abhishek Dey says

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  2. Daniel says

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    1. Abhishek Dey says

      Thanks Abhijit

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