Is "To Daffodils" a Cavalier Poem?Why or why not? Support the conclusion with examples of other Cavalier poems, from Ben Jonson and John Donne. Please I need all the help I can get.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There certainly are some aspects of Cavalier poetry evident in Wordsworth's poem "Daffodils."   The first and most prevalent is its idea that the natural world features a sense of beauty that is to be immediately appreciated.  The opening lines of the poem, in which the speaker compares his condition to that of a cloud and then fixates on the description of the daffodils would demonstrate such an idea.  You could certainly go back to the poem and find the lines that describe the daffodils in a manner that praises nature and shows the natural world to be beautiful.  Another similar element of Cavalier style in this poem is the directness of the images.  The Cavalier movement was consumed with expressing poetic pictures in a direct and focused manner.  The images in daffodils are fairly direct:  Clouds, flowers dancing back and forth, and their "sprightly dance."  These ideas are similar to other Cavalier poets, such as Robert Herrick, in his poem, "To the Virgins, To Make Much of Time."  Notice Herrick's opening stanza: Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,/ Old time is still a-flying: / And this same flower that smiles to-day, /To-morrow will be dying." There is much similarity in this excerpt of Cavalier poetry to Wordsworth's direct use of imagery and descriptions in "Daffodils."  Finally, the theme of Cavalier poetry, as evidenced in the Herrick selection, is steeped in "carpe diem," or "seizing the day," and this is evidenced in "Daffodils" as its implication is for individuals to actively engage and partake in the natural setting.

Where there might be divergence from some of the tenets of Cavalier poetry is in the gravity of work.  Cavalier poets did not want to be burdened with the weight and depth of Metaphyscial poets.  Rather, the Cavalier poets assumed a perspective of "lighthearted wit."  The closing stanza where Wordsworth describes the impact of the Daffodils on him would belie such a "light" notion of experience.  Rather, Wordsworth seems to be striving for a deep appreciation of the natural world and its impact on the individual.  If you examine the lines in the closing stanza, words like "pensive mood," "inward eye," and "solitude" do not seem to be "light" in any way, but rather reflect a very deep and serious set of themes.

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