William Wordsworth’s Daffodils, in its essence, is a nature poem. In this poem Wordsworth, talks about the beauty of nature and the effect it has on human mind. William Wordsworth was one of the great English Romantic poet and we can see this greatly influenced by his romantic ideas. The poet expresses his own ideas in this poem, thus, making it subjective in nature, which is one of the most important characteristics of Romantic poetry.
Wordsworth, in his theory of poetry, states that poetry is a ”spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.” This poem is a great example of that theory. This poem was written in 1804 but was inspired by the event that had happened in 1802 when Wordsworth was traveling along with his sister, Dorothy in the Lake District of England and they came across a long belt of daffodils. Wordsworth’s powerful emotions take the form of poetry as he is mesmerized by the scenery in front of him.
The original title of the poem was ‘I wondered lonely as a cloud’ is also the first line of the poem. The poem is full of figures of speech such as simile and personification. As mentioned earlier, the first line of the poem,
‘I wondered lonely as a cloud’
is a simile. The poet compares himself to a cloud, as they are both moving aimlessly in their lives. Another example of simile in the poem comes in the second stanza when the poet compares the daffodils with the stars. The flowers are stretched in continuous line just like the stars in the milky way.
“Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way”
Another figure of speech used in the poem very potently is personification. The daffodils are given human-like attributes where they are seen fluttering and dancing. Also the poet addresses the group of daffodils as host.
‘A host, of golden daffodils;’ and
‘Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.’
The use of imagery is also quite vivid in this poem. The lines mentioned below are one of the finest uses of imagery in English poetry;
“A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
Here words like golden, fluttering and dancing create distinct images in our minds. While reading these lines, the reader is immediately transported into the fields of daffodils.
William Wordsworth was a pantheist. He saw nature as a living entity and also there was something divine in nature. Though his pantheism is more prominent in his earlier works such as ”Tintern Abbey” and his ”Preludes” but he can see a hint of it in this poem too. He is in so much love with the beauty of nature that it starts affecting his mind. The lines:
“They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude”
Here he refers to the images of daffodils which are enough to transport him to a place of happiness. As if there is something divine energy in those flowers which can change your ‘pensive mood’ into ‘bliss of solitude’. You can see that he is reminding his readers about the powerful forces of nature.
The major theme of this poem is the beauty of nature and the impact it has on the human minds. Wordsworth throughout the poem, with his skilled use of imagery is taking us to the beautiful field of daffodils. In the third stanza of the poet, he talks about the impact the daffodils have had in his mind.
“A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company”
These lines clearly state the impact of nature on poet’s mind. He calls the daffodils a cheerful company and states that a poet could be nothing but happy in their company. The poet furthers this argument by stating that whenever he is in a pensive mood, his inward eye (imagination) takes him to those daffodils, they become the source of his happiness. This image gives him so much pleasure that he feels like he is dancing among the daffodils.
Wordsworth was one of the great lyric poets. Daffodils is also a lyric poem. It is written in four stanzas of six lines each and the rhyming scheme is ABABCC .The style is very simple and the language is easy to understand.
This is one of the most popular works of William Wordsworth. Through this poem, the main characteristics of Wordsworth as poet is also expressed. His pantheism, his nature-love, his romantic ideas all find a expression in this poem. Thus, making it one of the important works of William Wordsworth.