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9/30/2018

Wordsworth’s poetic theory in “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”

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Poetry is the  “spontaneous  overflow of powerful feelings .  .  .  recollected  in  tranquillity”,  says  Wordsworth. In reaction to the prevailing tradition of  Neo-classical poetry he professed spontaneity and preferred it to artificial poetic rules. He loved nature and believed in nature’s healing power. His beliefs and practice later on came to be known as romanticism.  “I  Wandered  Lonely  as  a  Cloud”  reflects the main features of his poetic theory.
In  “I  Wandered  Lonely  as  a  Cloud”,  spontaneity has been achieved by the rhymes and verse form.  Each stanza consists of six verse lines rhyming  ababcc. The couplet at the end of each stanza enhances spontaneity. So, the rhyme scheme and the tetrameter verse lines ensure the smooth movement required for the creation of spontaneity.  In addition to this, the speaker’s past experience of the daffodils has been recollected in the creation of the poem, which is also a feature of Wordswoth’s theory.
Wordsworth used the daffodils as a symbol of nature.  The  speaker, while roaming about aimlessly two years ago, saw a large number of daffodils. The flowers offered a happy sight. There was a pleasant wind. It seemed that the golden daffodils were dancing in joy. The speaker, who had a heart of a poet, was influenced by the joy of the daffodils. His heart started sharing the joyous movement of the flowers. He kept on looking at the beauty of the lively daffodils for a long time, not only to feed his eyes but also to feed his heart that responded positively. We understand that his heart started dancing with the   “sprightly dance” of the daffodils. This active participation in the joy of nature bears a deeper significance. It shows a spiritual communion between the speaker and the daffodils. This recognition of the spiritual correspondence between a man and nature establishes the fact that the speaker is in love with nature. This treatment of nature is an important feature of romanticism.
The poem shows the healing influence of nature. Belief in nature’s healing power is another aspect of  Wordsworth’s poetic creed. In this poem The speaker experienced a happy sight of the daffodils two years ago. Now, whenever, he becomes gloomy, the happy sight returns to his mind. His heart starts dancing. It relieves him of his pensive mood. It is another trait of romanticism.
So, spontaneity,love of nature, belief in nature’s healing power are the main features of Wordsworth’s poetic doctrine found in this poem.

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