Theme and Summary of Daffodils by William Wordsworth

Daffodils by William Wordsworth

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;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They 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 waves beside them danced; but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.


William Wordsworth, known as romantic poet in English Literature, was born on 7th April 1770 in Cumberland, England. He was the second of five children to John Wordsworth and Ann Cookson.

Wordsworth’s mother died when he was eight—this experience shapes much of his later work. Wordsworth attended Hawkshead Grammar School, where his love of poetry was firmly established and, it is believed that he made his first attempts at verse. While he was at Hawkshead, Wordsworth’s father died leaving him and his four siblings orphans. After Hawkshead, Wordsworth studied at St. John’s College in Cambridge and before his final semester, he set out on a walking tour of Europe, an experience that influenced both his poetry and his political sensibilities. While touring Europe, Wordsworth came into contact with the French Revolution. This experience as well as a subsequent period living in France, brought about Wordsworth’s interest and sympathy for the life, troubles, and speech of the “common man.” His earliest poetry was published in 1793 in the collections An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches. He married Mary Hutchinson, a childhood friend, and they had five children together. In 1812, while living in Grasmere, two of their children—Catherine and John—died. He died at Rydal Mount on April 23, 1850, leaving his wife Mary to publish The Prelude three months later.

Theme of William Wordsworth:

  1. William Wordsworth has chosen incidence and situation from common life in the rural areas and described them ‘in a selection of language really used by men’. But this selection of common life does not mean photographic reproduction. He has given to the ordinary incidence a coloring of imagination to present them in an unusual way.

Language of William Wordsworth:

  1. Wordsworth has used the rustic language in his poems after having purified it of its coarseness and other defeats. He has put forward certain reasons for choosing the rustic language for his poetry.
  2. The Rustic people can hourly communicate with the best objects of nature from which the best part of the language is derived.
  3. Living in the natural and narrow circle of society and being less under the influence of social vanity, they convey feelings and emotions in a simple and unelaborated language. This language is for more philosophical and easier to understand than the artificial diction used by the neoclassical poets of the time.
  4. According to Wordsworth, the language of Prose and that of Poetry are closely related with each other in their nature, function and appeal. They are composed of the same materials; they originate from the same sources and appeal to the same faculties. He gives an emotional utterance to this idea same; “Poetry shades no tears such as angels weep but natural and human blood circulates through the veins of them both”.
  5. Wordsworth quotes a sonnet of Thomas Gray who always stressed the difference between the two (prose and poetry) and proves that even in poetry the language of significant lines in no respect differs from that of prose. So, he says that, “Their neither is nor can be, any essential difference between the language of prose and metrical composition”.  
  6. The only difference between the two (prose and poetry) is metre. He affirms that metre is not an essential factor for poetry; it is merely a source of pleasure super added. 



At the time of wandering like a cloud lonely, floating above hills and valleys, the narrator observed a field of daffodils beside a lake. Then he stopped and concentrated the sceneries and activities of them. At that time, in the breeze the daffodils were dancing and fluttering beside the lake, beneath the trees, endlessly along the shore, and though the waves of the lake danced beside the flowers, the daffodils exceeded the water in glee. They continued their dancing as the stars that shine. And twinkle on the milky way, they stretched in never-ending line. To highlight the scene the narrator explained that at a glance he saw ten thousand daffodils who were tossing their heads in sprightly dance.  Then he gazed and gazed but did not think much and did not explain his charming much about them. The speaker again says that a poet could not help but be happy in such a joyful company of flowers. He says that he stared and stared, but did not realize what wealth the scene would bring him. Once when he is going to sleep the scenery of the daffodils come towards the eyes of the poet. Though, he had not much mood or pensive mood. At that time they flashed upon that inward eye and that were the happiness of loneliness. Gradually, his heart filled with pleasure and started dancing like the daffodils.  

    Structure: The poem bears 4 stanzas with 24 lines. Each stanza has six lines. It also follows a quatrain-couplet rhyme scheme. The rhyme scheme of this poet is ABABCC. The meter of this poem is iambic. Each of the lines is mentioned easily with rustic language. It is full of imagine. It helps the readers to be imagery person.  

   Critical analysis or appreciation: This poem is very simple, and it is considered one of the loveliest and most famous in the Wordsworth canon. It revisits the familiar subjects of nature and memory, this time with a particularly (simple) spare, musical eloquence. It also reflects his concept of the romanticism imagination and his belief in the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings, which he acknowledged as the theory of poetry. The plot is extremely simple, depicting the poet’s wandering and his discovery of a field of daffodils by a lake, the memory of which pleases him and comforts him when he is lonely, bored, or restless. The daffodils are continually personified as human beings, dancing and “tossing their heads” in “a crowd, a host.” This technique implies an inherent unity between man and nature, making it one of Wordsworth’s most basic and effective methods.

     It was inspired by an April 15, 1802 event in which Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy, came across a “long belt” of daffodils, written in 1804, it was first published in 1807 the poems in two volumes, and a revised version was released in 1815, which is more commonly known. It consists of four six-line stanzas, in iambic tetrameter and an ABABCC rhyme scheme.

       As the journal notes, it was a stormy day, which the reader would never guess from reading the poem. He later writes that it rained on them, and they had to go home. Again, somebody thinks that “I wandered lonely as a Cloud” is the perfect poem for a rainy day, and the image of dancing daffodils is a sure-fire cure for a mild case of the blues. Plus, it’s slightly hilarious.  It is a poem that just makes the reader to feel good about life. It says that even when someone feels lonely and missing his friends, he can use his imagination to fine new friends in the world around him. His happiness of the narrator does not last forever – he’s not that unrealistic – but the daffodils give him a little boost of joy whenever he needs it, like recharging his batteries. The poem is combined with the theme of man and the natural world, theme of spirituality and theme of memory and past.


1 comment

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