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I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

by William Wordsworth


Portrait of Wordsworth by William Shuter, 1798, and manuscript of 'Daffodills'


(1804)



Possibly the most famous poem in English. It is an evocation of the English Lake District around the future poet laureate's Dove Cottage at Grasmere, a landscape which came to be an inspiration for the 'Romanticism' of Thomas de Quincey, Walter Scott, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and many, many others.
Unabridged



I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud


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.




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