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9/29/2018

Wordsworth’s treatment of nature in “I Wonder Lonely as a Cloud”.


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William Wordsworth is a well-known poet of the romantic period. He was, in fact, the initiator of the revival of romanticism that sought primitive originality in reaction to neo-classical artificiality.  Nature provided that originality. Wordsworth took this issue of romanticism very seriously. To him nature was a living being, a friend and a healer. In  “I  Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” he presents nature as a manifestation of his theories about nature and poetry.  Here nature spontaneously makes communion with a human soul. Needless to mention that this treatment of nature is highly subjective.
“I  Wandered  Lonely as a Cloud”  is a perfect embodiment of  Wordsworth’s doctrine about nature. Love of nature is an important feature of his poetic imagination. In this poem he 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. His heart started dancing with the “sprightly  dance”  of the daffodils. So for  Wordsworth, nature is a living being  which is capable of making spiritual communion  with man.
The poem also reflects  Wordsworth’s  Belief in nature’s healing power. 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. In other words, the poem shows the healing influence of nature.
According to the romantic theory of poetry a poem is the  “spontaneous  overflow of  powerful  feelings  .  .  .  recollected  in  tranquillity”.   In   ”I  Wandered  Lonely  as a  Cloud” the theory has been  practically enacted.  The speaker’s past experience of the daffodils has been recollected in the creation of the poem. The past experience of a natural scene and its spontaneous recreation in a poem is absolutely subjective.
As has been detailed, in Wordsworth’s   “I  Wandered  Lonely  as  a  Cloud”  nature is joyous and he himself participates in its happy mood. In other words, here  Wordsworth treats nature subjectively. Moreover, Wordsworth identifies nature as a living spirit that has healing power. Further, nature here reflects his theory of spontaneity.

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