Online Texts for Craig White's Literature Courses

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

(1804)

by

William Wordsworth

(1770-1850)

I wander'd 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,                    5
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:                                  10
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,                              15
In such a jocund company:
I gazedóand gazedóbut little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,                               20
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
                                                              1804.
 

Wordsworth, Preface to Lyrical Ballads (1798): "Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity."

Monty Python spoof of Wordsworth poem