• Apr, 02, 2021

Daffodils By William Wordsworth | Reading, Commentary & More!

In my book Poetry Rx, I have two chapters dedicated to the great William Wordsworth and his works. The two Wordsworth poems that I selected for my book are fascinating to me—not only because they are great poems—but because they speak to a form of consciousness that I came to, only later in life. This form of consciousness is called transcendence. The poem Daffodils communicates how transcendence can be a mixture of different states. For example, it can be light and floaty… or it can be very vibrant and dynamic.

As you read the poem below see if you can pinpoint the light and floaty energy vs the very vibrant and dynamic energy.

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,
DaffodilsA 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.

How the poet achieves his effect


Wordsworth in 1798, about the time he began The Prelude.

The poem has a straightforward formal design consisting of four stanzas. The meter is iambic tetrameter (four feet per line), and the rhyme scheme is ABABCCDEDEFFGHGHIIJKJKLL.

The impact of the poem lies in a powerful effect of nature (specifically the daffodils) on the eye and inner state of the poet, which delights him not only in the presence of the scene but also long afterward when he is at leisure.

Norman E. Rosenthal, M.D. reading & commentary


Poetry-RxWe hope you enjoyed this blog post. For those of you interested in reading the full chapter, which breaks down this poem further and offers more about the poet and the poem, as well as poignant takeaways for the reader–Poetry Rx is available for purchase.

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