I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud Figures Of Speech

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andrewnightingale's profile pic

andrewnightingale | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In the first line Wordsworth uses personification and simile: 'I wandered lonely as a cloud'. A cloud can obviously not wander or feel lonely - these are human attributes or actions. The comparison effectively reflects the Romantic ideal of finding expression for the human condition in nature and establishes the link between man and nature. Furthermore, the line also expresses the idea of the poet or artist finding inspiration when he/she is isolated from the rest of mankind and is at one with nature - another Romanticist aspiration.

'Crowd' (line 3) and 'fluttering and dancing' (line 5) extend the personification. A large number of the daffodils seem to be dancing, celebrating their freedom and being in nature (natural).

The infinite beauty of the flowers and their link with what is natural is emphasized in the second stanza through the simile: 'Continuous as the stars that shine and twinkle on the milky way'. 'Tossing their heads in sprightly dance' is once again, personification, again emphasising the joy of nature.

Stanza three further extends the personification with the waves also dancing, but the daffodils joyously outdances them. Wordsworth says that their company is 'jocund' - they are full of joy and life. The metaphor emphasizes the joy nature can bring, for the speaker declares that he 'little thought what wealth the show to me had brought'. He was enriched by the experience without even realising it at the time.

The value of the experience lies within the speaker's memory. So charmed was he by witnessing these beautiful daffodils that 'my heart with pleasure fills and dances with the daffodils', whenever he is in deep thought and recalls the experience.

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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An overarching figure of speech that Wordsworth uses in his poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" is meter. The poem is written in four stanzas, each consisting of six lines of iambic tetrameter rhymed ABABCC.

He also uses the figure of isocolon, parallel clauses each of the same length and rhythmical pattern in the line:

Beside the lake, beneath the trees ...

The poem begins with a simile, a figure of explicit comparison, when the narrator says he was as "lonely as a cloud." A second figure of comparison, metaphor, which does not use explicit comparative terms such as "like" and "as", can be found in the comparison of the daffodils with the stars in the galaxy. In his numbering them as ten thousand, he uses the figure of hyperbole or exaggeration. 

Wordsworth personifies the daffodils, describing them as if they were human capable of human feelings and actions such as dancing and jocundity.


marilynn07's profile pic

marilynn07 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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There are a number of figures of speech in this poem.

The first is personification: "I" and "cloud" are being personified. The second is the simile "as a cloud." The daffodils are also personified as they dance and are gleeful.

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

The waves are also personified as they dance. That should get you started on your essay. This poem is about a moment in time when Wordsworth and his sister were walking along the lake shore in Cumbria County, England 1802. The theme is about how nature's beauty is often unappreciated or undervalued.

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emilydeede | High School Teacher | In Training Educator

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The figurative language in this poem develops the theme of how comforting nature can be to someone who is feeling lonely. The speaker may be physically alone, but he no longer feels alone when he notices the beauty of the natural world around him.

A “crowd” of daffodils is an example of personification because human characteristics are given to the daffodils to suggest that they provide good company to someone who is lonely. The daffodils “flutter” and “dance” just like a merry group of people.

As the poem continues, the speaker uses simile to compare the daffodils to stars that continuously shine. He suggests that nature’s beauty is as continuous as the stars that shine each night; we can always count on nature. “Tossing their heads in sprightly dance” is another example of personification. The speaker compares the daffodils to the “dancing” waves (personification), stating that the daffodils brought so much joy that they outdid the waves.

The personification in the final lines, “my heart…dances with the daffodils,” emphasizes that whenever the poet feels alone, he continues to find solace in his memory of the company he kept with the daffodils.

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