(Annotated by Carlene Harris)
William Wordsworth's poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" was written in period of a time, the Romantic era, when people had become fascinated by the inner workings of the mind and by nature and the effect that nature has upon the state of mind. The Romantics viewed nature as a deity, Godlike, with which they could develop a relationship. It is a poem filled with imagery about nature and solitude and the language is very simple and easily understood. It provides a novel view of the organic, rejuvenating and sustaining relationship between mankind and the world of nature.
In the opening line "I wandered lonely as a cloud" (line 1) the protagonist, the poet himself, seems to have gone for a walk on a beautiful summer day, when the skies are very blue and there is but one puffy white cloud drifting across the sky. This single cloud is the symbol of tranquility. He appeared to have been in a reverie, freeing his mind from his worries. As he floats along he finds he has company as he is "all at once" overcome by the sight of a "host of golden daffodils" (line 4). Th golden daffodils symbolizes something of great value.
Daffodils are delicate flowers and the fact that they were "fluttering and dancing in the breeze" (line 6) illustrates that the breeze was soft zephyr, not a harsh gale to bruise and damage. This adds to the imagery of picture perfect day. The daffodils seem to "shine and twinkle like the stars on the Milky Way" as they sway and dance in a never-ending line along the water's edge. He moved the daffodils out of the ordinary into the heavens, which connects with the aforementioned idea of a godlike connection. They are happy as they "outdid the sparkling waves in glee" (line 14). Wordsworth opines that "a poet could not help but be gay/In such a jocund company" (lines 15-16). This is in harmony with the mood of the era, when Romanticism was in full effect...