I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

by William Wordsworth

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In "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud," how does the "crowd" change the speaker's feelings?

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The speaker feels lonely wandering the British Lake District in early spring when he sees a crowd of daffodils:

I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

The speaker's mood changes as he watches the daffodils. The flowers have bloomed in a vast profusion in front of a lake. The breeze blows them back and forth so that they look like a crowd of people dancing,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The daffodils seem, to the speaker, full of "glee."

Wordsworth personifies (gives human characteristics to) the daffodils. As he views them, the speaker is no longer lonely and sad. Instead, his heart lifts and he becomes joyous as he watches their show. He states that he has no choice but to happy:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund [jolly] company....

Later, the speaker tells us that the memory of the daffodils is a gift that keeps on giving. In colder weather, lying on his sofa, the speaker can lift his mood higher by remembering the swaying, lively, joyful daffodils.

In many ways, this is a perfect example of a Romantic poem. First, nature is celebrated and has a healing power, bringing the poet's mood from dejection to joy. Second, it uses simple language to describe a simple scene. Third, it communicates to us that we don't have to spend vast sums on pleasure: taking a walk and being open to what is in front of us can bring us lasting joy. Fourth, emotions are described, making the poem lyrical: the Romantics wished to capture emotions as they recalled them in more tranquil states. Finally, memory is celebrated as an important gift.

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