Critical Analysis of Daffodils


by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.


The speaker was walking aimlessly down the hills and valley when he stumbled upon a beautiful field of daffodils which sparked up his creative spirit. He is transfixed by the daffodils seemingly waving, fluttering, and dancing along the waterside. Albeit, the lake’s waves moved as fervently but the beauty of daffodils outdid with flying colors. The poet feels immensely gleeful and chirpy at this mesmerizing naturalistic sight. He remains transfixed at those daffodils wavering with full vigor, oblivious to the fact that this wondrous scenery brings the poet immense blithe and joy when he’s in a tense mood or perplexed. His heart breathes a new life and gives him exponential happiness at a sight worth a thousand words.The flowers were a “jocund company” to him that he could not find in humans. Their silent presence told more than the words of humans could convey to him. They had a purity that made the poet spellbound, and celebrated the beauty of nature along with the bliss of solitude, which he deems as an asset that inspires him to live a meaningful life.


The poem is composed of four stanzas, six lines each. It is an adherent to the A-B-A-B-C-C (quatrain couplet rhyme scheme) as it uses consistent rhyming to invoke nature at each stanza’s end. Consonance and alliteration are used to create rhymes.

This poem is written from the first person point of view, therefore it is an ideal example of a lyric poem.


Similes are used since the poet alludes himself to an aimless cloud, as he takes a casual stroll.The poet metaphorically compares him to a cloud for describing his thoughtless mental state on that day.  The daffodils are compared to star clusters in the Milky Way to explicate the magnitude of daffodils fluttering freely beside the lake. 

Hyperbole is used to explain the immensity of the situation. By “ten thousand”, he meant a collection of daffodils were fluttering in the air. It’s just a wild estimation at best as he supposes ten thousand daffodils at a glance.  

The poet makes an  allusion to the Milky Way, our galaxy filled with its own planetary solar systems stretched beyond infinity. Along the Milky Way’s premises lie countless stars which the poet alludes to daffodils fluttering beside the lake.

The daffodils are even made anthropomorphous in order to create a human portrayal of Mother Nature in this instance.

He has also used personification, equating humans to clouds, and daffodils to humans with constant movement. He personifies the daffodils, dancing, a trait relatable to humans. The term “sprightly” comes from sprite which is primarily dandy little spirits, people deemed existed in such times. They are akin to fairies.


Symbolism: The poem begins with a symbolic reference to the cloud, wandering aimlessly and lonely. The poetic persona is the embodiment of such a cloud.Although the clouds mostly travel in groups, this cloud prefers singular hovering. Hence, it symbolises being lonely and thoughtless, free from mundane thoughts. The daffodils act as a symbol of rejuvenation and pure joy. In his pensive mood, they become a means for the poet’s self-reflection, through which the flowers express their vibrance.

The “inward eye” is a reference to the mind’s eyes. When one shuts his physical eyes, it unleashes those eyes. Wordsworth compares the daffodils to the “bliss” of his solitary moments. 

According to him, the memory associated with the daffodils fills his heart with pleasure, making his heart leap up once again like a child. Blissful memories are so gripping that they stick with a person throughout his or her life.

Imagery: The image of the cloud describes the poet’s mental state, and the images that appear thereafter vividly portray the flowers. These images are visual and some have auditory effects (Example, “Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”) The waves are sparkling due to the sunlight. This image is contrasted with the dance of daffodils.

 The space continuum holds great mystery for our Romantic Era poet as he envisions the daffodils to be in a constant state of wonder as are the stars beyond the reach of humans.


The tone  of this poem is emotive, hyperbolic, expressive, and thoughtful. Using this clever tactic of personification, the poet brings people closer to nature, becoming a hallmark of William Wordsworth’s most basic yet effective methods for leading the readers to appreciate nature’s pristine glory. Throughout, the poet maintains a calm and joyous mood. This poem is famous for its simplicity, sing-song-like rhythm, and thematic beauty.

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