“I wandered lonely as a cloud”
Romanticism took center stage in poetry during the eighteenth century and encompasses emotion, imagination, and individuality. Romanticism emphasized the appreciation of nature and all that it embodied. It is a spirit that predominant over emotional life, provoked imagination, and stimulated action. They believed that intense imagination fueled romanticism. Although viewed as a rebellion against classism and capitalism, romanticism opened up the world to classic forms of art from music, painting, and architecture. William Wordsworth poem “I wondered lonely as a cloud” greatly mirrors the elements of romanticism right from the title. Romanticism advocates for freedom, freedom from all the struggles of the world. “I wandered lonely as a cloud’ is symbolic of freedom. Clouds loom over the other and move around without any form of restriction. “That floats on high o’er vales and hills,” (2).
Imagery, a core principle of romanticism is greatly represented in the poem. The first three stanzas of the poem create a vivid image of nature. The persona speaks of the golden daffodils, which he encounters as he wonders like a cloud. “A host, of golden daffodils;/ Beside the lake, beneath the trees,/ Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.” (3-6). The speaker compares the dancing daffodils to the twinkling stars stretched out in the never-ending line, a scene to behold. The entire poem is emotive, a core principle of romanticism. However, it is more pronounced in the last stanza. The speaker alludes to a state of solitude “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 (19-22) Loneliness is an emotion that reappears in the entire poem and one that reoccurs to the speaker often. “For oft, when on my couch I lie’ (19). The only time the speaker finds happiness is in isolation and thinking of daffodils, representative of nature, “And then my heart with pleasure fills, /And dances with the daffodils” (23-24. Romanticism emphasizes the harmony of human beings and nature. Human beings become their wild, imaginative self in the presence of nature. The poem highlights the relationship between human beings and nature. A culminating joy arises when the speaker thinks of nature (23-24). The poem is a great reflection on the author’s personal philosophy, a doorway to how much William Wordsworth enjoyed nature and the vision he had of human beings living in unison with nature. It is profound and refreshing. Wordsworth believed that human beings all elements of nature are related and their destiny intertwined. Romanticism is enchanting. It revolutionizes how we view the world. Apart from reacting against literary practices of preceding eras, romanticism examines the beauty and importance of nature to humankind. William Wordsworth uses poetry too connects nature and human beings showing the world of nature to be full of peace, happiness, love, and health.
Furst, Lilian R. Romanticism. London: Methuen and Co Ltd, 1969.
Legouis, Emile, and Louis François Cazamian. A history of English literature. Vol. 2. JM Dent & Sons Limited, 1927.
Wordsworth, William, and Robert Creeley. I wandered lonely as a cloud. ProQuest LLC, 2004.