'I wandered lonely as a cloud'

A lyric poem inspired by an event on 15 April 1802, when William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy came across a “long belt” of daffodils in the Lake District, where they lived at the time. Written in 1804, it was first published in 1807 in Poems in Two Volumes, and a slightly revised version was published in 1815. It is written in four six-line stanzas with an ABABCC rhyme scheme. Often referred to as ‘Daffodils’, it is one of England’s most famous poems.

Although its lines are profoundly engaged with the realities of life on the ground (the flowers, the water, the wind) they are written as if from above. Wordsworth is determined to establish a visionary dimension to the poem, stretching the limits of the physical world, exploring the sympathetic relationship between diverse elements (earth, water and air), and rising to a climax in which the limits of both time and the human mind are challenged.

Manuscript of 'I wandered lonely as a cloud' by William Wordsworth

Printer's manuscript of William Wordsworth's Poems, in Two Volumes, 1807 [folio: 80r]

View images from this item  (1)
William Wordsworth
Full title:
Romantic literature
Literary period:

Related articles

The Romantics

Article by:
Stephanie Forward

Dr Stephanie Forward explains the key ideas and influences of Romanticism, and considers their place in the work of writers including Wordsworth, Blake, P B Shelley and Keats.

An introduction to ‘Tintern Abbey’

Article by:
Philip Shaw

Professor Philip Shaw considers the composition of 'Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey', and explains how Wordsworth uses nature to explore ideas of connection and unity.

Related collection items

Related people

Related works

'A Red, Red Rose'

Created by: Robert Burns

A poem by Robert Burns (1759-1796). Towards the end of his short life, Burns contributed many songs to James ...

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Created by: Lord Byron

A poem in Spenserian stanzas by Lord Byron (1788-1824), Cantos I and II appeared in 1812, Canto III in 1816 and ...

'Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802'

Created by: William Wordsworth

‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802’ is a sonnet by William Wordsworth (1770-1850) ...

Don Juan

Created by: Lord Byron

Lord Byron’s (1788-1824) entertaining mock-epic version of the famous Don Juan legend (1819-24) proved highly ...