As in many of Wordsworth’s poems, he is describing what effect nature has or had on him. In this poem- “Daffodils”- he is describing his sighting of a “crowd” of golden daffodils. He is describing how beautiful they were, how they made him feel, how they moved and what they looked like. He is describing something he has obviously seen and captured in his imagination, something which really struck him. The poet is trying to stress to the reader the beauty of the daffodils, and how it struck him, and makes him happy when he remembers them.
He is trying to tell the reader how beautiful nature is and how it affects him.
Wordsworth was writing during the time of the industrial revolution, when lots of pollution was being produced and nature being damaged, cut down or just cleared out because they needed space for new factories, as well as fuel for them. The pollution also damaged nature. Wordsworth wants to persuade the reader that nature is to be admired- not destroyed.
He wants to persuade the reader that nature is beautiful, stunning, something to be preserved. Wordsworth obviously liked nature- most of his poems are about it and one of his hobbies was walking- so he wanted it to be preserved, so it could still be enjoyed later, by others.
He seemed to almost admire the daffodils- he approached them in a manner which seemed to show he was stunned by their beauty, regarding them as something precious, maybe, perhaps, higher up than him. Wordsworth writes using the first person, so it must have been something he saw, something that affected him personally. He uses an iambic meter, which helps to capture movement, gives it a bouncy, happy feeling and flows well. The rhyming scheme is ABABCC, two alternatively rhyming couplets and then a rhyming couplet. This sets up a regular rhythm and beat, which is used throughout the poem.
It also allows him to create the magical effect of beauty with the words he uses. It is set out in four verses, all using the same meter and rhyming scheme and all with the same layout. They are all practically identical apart from the words used. In stanza one, the poet is wandering “lonely as a cloud”, all on his own. He is walking beside a lake when he almost stumbles upon a “crowd” of daffodils. He sees them as he is wandering, possibly as he came over a hill (“that floats on high o’er vales and hills”), and is stunned by the beauty of the “golden” daffodils.
The words he uses create a magical, dreamlike atmosphere- make it seem unreal, as though he is daydreaming perhaps. The way he describes how “all at once I saw a crowd… ” gives the impression that he came across them suddenly- he was not looking for them. Describing the daffodils as a “crowd” compares them to a group of people, as though there are lots of them close together. Maybe they are hustling and bustling, being blown about by the wind, resembling a busy crowd of humans. He then describes them as a “host”, which makes them sound welcoming, as though they’re greeting him.
Next he describes them as being “golden”, which makes them sound precious or royal- larger than life. He is, once again, describing their beauty and how it strikes him. He describes them “fluttering”, like beautiful butterflies, and “dancing in the breeze”- comparing their movement to that of people dancing, joyful and happy. In this verse there is a run-on line and then end-stopped lines, most with commas. In stanza two, he describes the numbers of the daffodils. They are “continuous as the stars that shine and twinkle on the Milky Way, they stretch in never- ending line, upon the margin of a bay”.
He compares them to the stars because the stars are beautiful. Their frilled heads almost resemble stars. He wants to give the impression that there are vast numbers of them- so many that they look like they are “never-ending”. He describes them as though light radiates from them- as though they glitter and grab his attention. It makes the daffodils seem like they are more beautiful than anything around them: they are the only thing you can focus on. Everything around them is inferior- they are shining, larger then life. The poet emphasises the beauty of the daffodils and how they affected him.
He then describes them “tossing their heads in sprightly dance”. This makes them sound quite proud, “tossing their heads” in dance, full of life. This is capturing the movement of the daffodils. In this verse there are a couple of run-on lines. This helps to build up a mood of excitement, as it makes you say faster because there is no pause at the end of the line. This builds up pace, adds speed. In stanza three, he describes how “the waves beside them danced, but they out-did the sparkling waves in glee”. He is describing how although the lake’s waves danced and sparkled, they are still not as beautiful as the daffodils.
Wordsworth finds the daffodils so beautiful that even the waves cannot draw his gaze away. He then tells us how “a poet could not but be gay, in such jocund company”. He describes the daffodils as happy and cheerful. He is using it to describe how the daffodils made him feel. He then describes how he did not truly appreciate the sight at the time, how he “gazed- and gazed- but little thought, what wealth the show to me had bought”. He is describing how he looked for a long while at the daffodils, but didn’t realise quite how beautiful they were at the time- or what an imprint it will make on his memory and imagination.
In this verse there is an end stopped line, making you pause at an important point and indicating that a poet is accentuating or stressing a point, he is going to carry it on on the next line. Then, on the fifth line, there is a very distinctive caesura. This adds a sense of time: he gazed for a long while at the daffodils. In the fourth stanza, he describes how, later on when he lies on his couch “in vacant or in pensive mood”, he can remember and imagine the daffodils and there beauty, and it will make him happy. When he pictures the daffodils he is filled with happiness and pleasure and his heart “dances with the daffodils”.
He now realises the true beauty of the daffodils and what an effect they had on him. In this verse there is another run-on line, and then, a couple of lines later, an end-stopped line. This verse sort of sums up the poet’s overall feelings towards and about the daffodils, and the fact that the poem is about him remembering them and how and what he felt when he first came across these daffodils. I like this poem. I like the way Wordsworth describes the daffodils: the similes, metaphors and personification that bring the daffodils to life. He personifies them almost to incorporate his feelings into the poem.
It also gives an impression of how they moved – comparing them to something I know and have seen, so I can picture in my mind what they looked like and how they moved. I like the way he describes them as being larger than life, royal, precious, glittering like the stars. The verbs and adjectives he uses create a really clear picture in my mind. I can picture the daffodils swaying, fluttering, and dancing by the lake where the sparkling waves dance. I can picture them with a sort of glow radiating from them as they toss their petals in the breeze. I can picture the poet lying on his couch at home, remembering the daffodils.
Even the image the poem creates is strong, and sticks in your mind, including how stunned he is. The words he uses really enable me to understand how the poet was feeling when he saw these daffodils, as he remembered them and how he felt towards them. I can almost feel the amazing exhilaration felt by Wordsworth as he tried to describe his sighting of the daffodils on that day as he daydreams about them, trying to create an image in words of what the looked like and how they moved. He has done this really well. I think this is a really beautiful piece of mind capturing a piece of nature- it’s written really strongly.
Cite this essay
Daffodils, by William Wordsworth. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/daffodils-william-wordsworth-new-essay