William Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” is written in 1807. It stands out clearly that it is a romantic poem, because it has the characteristics of romanticism – the narrator is a lonely poet, there has been used a lot of figurative language and nature is in focus.
I will in this essay present a short introduction of the romantic hero, the poet, and the significance of the depiction of nature. I will make a characterisation of the narrator and an elaboration of his experience of the daffodils, in which I will incorporate five images. I will also discuss William Wordsworth’s ability to convey the beauty of the daffodils and compare it to George Gordon Byron’s poem “She Walks in Beauty”.
I will begin with a short introduction of the romantic hero. The romantic hero and poet is a supreme individual creator who has a deep relationship to nature. He is defined as a social outcast and a loner. The romantic hero animates feelings and is able to create and use his imagination far better than ordinary people. The poet is often the protagonist in his own works and only the romantic poets have the ability to convey what they see.
Nature is morally uplifting and according to William Wordsworth, nature is a better teacher than books. People take the beauty of nature for granted and cannot see the beauty in the same way as the romantic poets can see it.
Next I will characterise the poet and elaborate on his experience of the daffodils. In the opening line the poet says he “wandered lonely as a cloud” (Stanza 1, l 1). He feels lonely and finds himself in his own thoughts and compares himself to a moving cloud. The cloud is transparent, which makes the poet transparent as well; he is open to be touched by new images. At first the poet is out in the nature, where he sees this “crowd of golden daffodils” which are “fluttering and dancing in the breeze” (stanza 1, l 3-4). He personifies the daffodils by comparing them to dancing humans and to a crowd of people, because there are so many of them. The description of the daffodils is in contrasts with the poet’s feelings. The poet feels lonely, but he describes the daffodils as fluttering, dancing and as a crowd. The daffodils’ movement is compared to daffodils that stretch and toss their heads “they stretched in never-ending line” (stanza 2, l 3) “tossing their heads…” (Stanza 2, l 6). The daffodils are not just flowers to the poet; they are a lot more than that. He uses a simile where he says the daffodils are like shiny stars on the Milky Way, because there are so many of them “as stars that shine and twinkle on the Milky Way” (stanza 2, l 1-2).
When the poet sees the sparkling waves, he says that the daffodils stands out and are even more beautiful. Like any other poet, he could not be anything but happy. “The waves beside them danced; but they out-did the sparkling waves in glee;” (stanza 3, l 1+2) “A poet could not but be gay, in such a jocund company;” (stanza 3, l 3+4). The poet is very happy with the daffodils and they have an almost hypnotic effect on the poet, “I gazed – and gazed – but little thought” (stanza 3, l 5). The poet keeps looking at the daffodils and is barely able to think. In the end of the poem, the poet is at home. He is lonely, but felt with pleasure and thinking about everything and nothing. He imagines and sees picture of the sparkling daffodils with his inward eye. He is one with nature and the daffodils, “and then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils” (stanza 4, l 5-6). Even though he is alone and not with the daffodils, his heart is felt with pleasure when he thinks of the daffodils.
Lastly I will discuss William Wordsworth’s ability to convey the beauty of the daffodils and compare it to George Gordon Byron’s poem “She Walks in Beauty”. William Wordsworth uses nature and a lot of figurative language to convey the beauty of the daffodils. The daffodils that he sees are more than flowers. He personifies them, and their beauty has an almost hypnotic effect on him. William Wordsworth also uses dualism; he describes the daffodils on the outside and the inside. They are happy in the inside and sparkling on the outside.
Gordon Byron also uses figurative language and dualism to describe the beauty of the lady in his poem. He does it the same way William Wordsworth does. In Gordon Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty” the lady is not only beautiful in light, but also in dark. The physical beauty is her hair, eyes, smile etcetera. The inner beauty is her heart whose love is innocent, pure and dear thoughts etcetera.
William Wordsworth and Gordon Byron both use nature to describe the beauty of the daffodils and the lady in their poems. Their beauty affects them in a way they never would affect ordinary people.
In conclusion the romantic hero is a social outcast and a loner. He has a deep relationship to nature, he animates feelings and can create and imagine far better than ordinary people. William Wordsworth uses nature and lot of figurative language to describe the beauty of the daffodils. The beauty of the daffodils affects the poet in a special way, because only a romantic poet appreciates and can see the real beauty of nature.