‘Daffodils’ by William Wordsworth

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;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
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:
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,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–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.

I thought this was an appropriate poem for Spring, which is trying to happen in England at the moment.

This is probably the poem that people generally most associate with Wordsworth. It has all the beautiful descriptions of nature and the infusion of spirituality that we find in so much of his work. When I was 17 I went to the Lake District and visited Dove Cottage, where Wordsworth used to live, and I remember that the gift shop there was full of postcards with this poem printed on them.

I love how the poet communicates the way in which beauty never dies, but lives forever in memory and continues to give pleasure. Or, as Keats put it in hisEndymion, “A thing of Beauty is a joy forever,/ its loveliness increases;/ it will never pass into nothingness.”

This poem is so full of joy, just like the daffodils.

Reviewed by Emily Ardagh