I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

by William Wordsworth

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What is the significance of the poem "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud"?

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William Wordsworth's 1807 poem epitomizes the work of the British Romantic poets. It could be said that their collective aim was to celebrate the power of the human imagination as a means of coping with life's troubles. The Romantics also possessed feelings of reverence for Nature, and "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" reflects both of those values.

The speaker in Wordsworth's poem recalls embarking on a ramble and happening upon a massive field of daffodils along a bay. He is captivated with how they are "fluttering and dancing in the breeze" in a way that rivaled the beauty of the waves that lapped the shore.

The speaker marvels that the daffodils could only fill him with joy and that he can conjure that feeling again any time he wants to, especially when he is feeling empty or "pensive," by simply remembering the beauty of the daffodils.

The poem celebrates the transformative effects that nature can have on a person who is open to it.

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Wordworth's poem, "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" is "reputed to be the most anthologized poem in the world." That means that this particular poem has been included in more textbooks and collections of poetry and literature than any other poem, at least in the English language. The reason for this is that the poem is very simple and a prime example of English romanticism. The simplicity lies in the recollection of a moment when the poet was walking and saw a group of wild daffodils. He compares the flowers to dancers, an army and stars in the Milky Way. He even implies though the use of the word "host" that the flowers are almost divine in nature. This childlike wonder and exhaultation of nature enables Wordsworth to capture the spirit of the Romantic movement in this one short, simple poem. 

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