Compare and contrast "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" by William Wordsworth and "The Way through the Woods" by Rudyard Kipling.

"I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" by William Wordsworth and "The Way through the Woods" by Rudyard Kipling are alike in being lyrical poems about the natural world. They also both explore the theme of memory. However, the contrast in tone. Wordsworth's speaker's encounter with nature brings him joy, while Kipling's speaker expresses emotions of loss and regret.

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Wordsworth's and Kipling's poems are alike in that they celebrate the beauty of the natural world. They are both lyrical poems, too, which express heartfelt emotion about the natural scene they describe.

The poems differ, however, in the emotional tone they convey. Although Wordsworth's speaker starts out lonely, he is quickly brought to a sense of joy and communion with nature as he stumbles upon thousands of daffodils waving in the wind in front of a lake. They seem to him like people dancing, and he feels a deep kinship with them that lifts him to joy.

Kipling's poem, however, has a sustained tone of nostalgic loss and regret over the road that no longer winds through the woods. He would like to be able to travel on it, but though he can wander into the woods and see otters, badgers, and doves where the road once was, the road is gone, a fact he reacts to with sorrow. The horses, he says, canter through the woods:

As though they perfectly knew
The old lost road through the woods.

But there is no road through the woods.

Whereas Wordworth's poem radiates with the emotion of joy, Kipling's is full of regret and loss.

Both poems, however, touch on memory. Wordsworth's speaker is sustained on the days he can't go outside by his happy memory of the daffodils, while Kipling's speaker notes that the "keeper sees" (remembers) where the road once was.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
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