Sunday, 19 March 2017

I wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wordsworth

Dear Reader,


I have put lots of daffodils into jugs around my house this week, and how cheerful and pretty they look.  I expect you have too.  Daffodils are certainly telling us that spring is here, and surely that is what we all want to know.  It wasn't William Wordsworth who first saw the daffodils in this famous poem I have printed below, it was his sister Dorothy.  She wrote in her Grasmere journal of seeing "daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness, and they tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew over the lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing".

The Roman army was responsible for introducing the daffodil to much of the known world.  Native to southern Europe, the daffodil (narcissus) was believed to have medicinal properties, and the Roman apothecaries, and later priests, carried bulbs in their supplies and planted them wherever the army was stationed.  But this in fact was not a good idea, as the plants are highly toxic.  These hardy bulbs naturalized all over northern and western Europe, and we even get the familiar name "daffodil" from the Dutch (affo dyle), which means "that which comes early".   When the plants arrived in England around l629, the population embraced them as it does today. 


I am not a nature poet, so I have chosen this very famous poem by William Wordsworth (1770-1850) as the best one I know about daffodils, and which I thought you would enjoy.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
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.


With very best wishes, Patricia

1 comment:


Lovely poem: so joyous and free from complication, just celebrating the beauty of nature
and how happy it can make us. Thank you for that and your interesting commentary.