ICSE Class 9 Literature — The Daffodils by William Wordsworth –Explanation

The Daffodils by William Wordsworth

Introduction .. William Wordsworth (1770-1850) is one of the most read English poets. His poetic genius unfolded quite early in his life. Along with S. T. Coleridge he started the Romantic Age in English Literature with the publication of Lyrical Ballads.
Wordsworth was a lover of Nature. He loved walking alone for enjoying the landscape around him. No doubt, such long lonely walks rejuvenated his mind, but at times, he used to feel sad and depressed. He had a troubled marital relationship with Annette Valon, the French woman, who bore him a daughter. Political upheaval in France, and the growing animosity between Britain and France forced him to leave Annette and the daughter behind. He remained separated from them for years. This rupture of relationship forced by extraneous circumstances scarred his mind. At times, he used to feel terribly despondent and rejected. Nature provided him with the necessary succor in such times of mental distress.
This short poem The Daffodils shows how profoundly Wordsworth leaned on Nature for his emotional support. For him, the image of the Daffodils remained a wholesome mood elevator, and a perennial source of pleasure.

The poem…
William Wordsworth was an avid observer of Nature. In this poem, he describes the impression a cluster of daffodil flowers created in his mind when he saw them while taking a stroll beside a lake hemmed by some trees.

Stanza 1 ..
The beauty of the daffodils lifted his mind and his spirit. His imagination and his poetic instincts came to the fore. He could see himself as a cloud floating past the golden-coloured daffodils on the ground where some trees stood beside a lake. The flowers were swaying in the breeze. This gentle movement enhanced their attraction.

Stanza 2..
The daffodils were numerous in number. They seemed to stretch in an endless line. The poet felt as if they were like the twinkling stars in the Milky Way. Clearly, the poet has been profoundly enchanted by the daffodils’ beauty, accentuated by their alternating swaying movements. The flowers, appearing full of life and beauty, have un-fettered the poetic imagination of Wordsworth.

Stanza 3 …

Pushed by the breeze, the waves in the lake swayed too. To the poet’s eyes, the swaying daffodils looked more bewitching than the dancing waves of the lake. The poet feasted his eyes in the beauty of the daffodils. He found it hard to look elsewhere, so riveting was the beauty of the swaying daffodils. In his mind, the sight of the daffodils remained stamped forever. The flowers were possibly one of Nature’s most beautiful offerings, he thought.

Stanza 4 ..

The joyous encounter with the swaying daffodils remained stored in his subconscious mind. When loneliness made him dispirited and pensive, he would remember the beautiful sight of the swaying cluster of daffodils he had seen in the past, and the sadness would vanish instantly. Such was the lifting power of the memory of the daffodils. For the rest of his life, the daffodils remained in his mind as a balm that could dispel sadness, and bring happiness. The scene, thus, became a priceless treasure which acted as n inexhaustible source of happiness.

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