Critically comment on the lyrical qualities of Wordsworth's "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud."
William Wordsworth's lyric "I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud," usually anthologized as "Daffodils," recaptures a moment of sheer ecstasy when he and his sister Dorothy saw the shore of a lake near Grasmere lined with daffodils during their walk on April 15, 1802. The final version of the lyric was published in 1815.
A lyric represents the deep feelings and emotions of the poet as a response to an external stimulus. Some of the important features of a 'Romantic' lyric are as follows:
1. The Romantic lyric is a very 'personal' poem. It is characterized by the presence of personal pronouns 'I,' 'me,' 'my,' and 'mine.' This can be seen at the very beginning of the poem itself: "I wandered lonely as a cloud."
2. The Romantic lyric is an expression of the poet's own inner feelings and emotions. Wordsworth has recorded in his lyric his joy and happiness on seeing the daffodils: " a poet could not but be gay, in such jocund company."
3. The Romantic lyric is very 'physical', that is, the poet's physical senses are involved in experiencing the outside world. In Wordsworth's case it is the physical sense of sight: "when all at once I saw a crowd a host of golden daffodils."
4. The word lyric is derived from the Greek word 'lyre' which was a stringed musical instrument. So, literally a lyric 'is a song written to be sung to the accompaniment of the lyre.' Wordsworth's lyric can neither be sung nor can it be set to music. He has substituted a regular metrical pattern for the musical score. The musical architectonic has been replaced with all the lines of the four stanzas being iambic pentameter. Each stanza is made up of six lines with the first line of each stanza rhyming with the third and the second with the fourth and the stanza ending with a couplet. It is this regular pattern which is repeated throughout the poem which creates the music.
5. Wordswoth was a worshipper of Nature and this poem captures the natural beauty of the daffodils on the lake shore: "golden daffodils."
6. A Romantic lyric will be characterised by an excessive use of similes and metaphors as a means of conveying to his readers the poet's own feelings and emotions: "asa cloud." Wordsworth compares the seemingly endless extent to which the daffodils stretched across the lake shore to the galaxy of the Milky Way thus linking the terrestrial with the extra terrestrial