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Wordsworth, 'I wandered lonely as a cloud'

1807

Wordsworth, 'Daffodils'

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  • Intro

    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. 

     

    The work of the Romantic poet William Wordsworth was revolutionary in its day. Wordsworth believed that poetry should explore the purity and beauty of nature, and the deep human emotion inspired by the natural landscape. Previously, poets had focused on grand, moralizing themes. Initially a supporter of the French Revolution, Wordsworth was horrified by the industrialisation of Britain and by the social injustices that came with modernisation - over-crowded cities, poverty, oppression.

     

    The 24-line poem shown in this manuscript sums up the simple splendour of flowers waving in a Lake District breeze. It is one of England's most famous poems. Wordsworth wrote it in 1804, remembering a walk with his sister two years earlier. It was first published in 1807.

     

    Shelfmark: Add. MS 47864, f.80.

  • Transcript

    Wordsworth, 'I wandered lonely as a cloud'

    Original text:

     

    To the Printer

    (after the Poem (in the set under title of "Moods of my own mind") beginning "The Cock is crowing" please [to?] insert the two following properly number'd, and number the succeed[ing?] ones accordingly)

     

    ['I wandered like a lonely' crossed out]

    I wandered lonely as a Cloud

    That floats on high oer Vales and Hills

    When all at once I saw a crowd-

    A host of dancing Daffodils.

    Alone the Lake, beneath the trees,

    Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.

     

    The Waves beside them danced, but they

    Outdid the sparkling Waves in glee:-

    A Poet could not but be gay

    In such a laughing company:

    I gaz'd - and gaz'd - 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.

    ____________________

    Who fancied what a pretty sight

    This Rock would be if edged around

    With living Snowdrops? circled bright!

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