The Nature of Romantic in Wordsworth's Poem 'I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud'

The Romantic movement refers to a period in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, which led to a surge of interest in the artistic and intellectual movement, described by Berlin as ‘the greatest single shift in the consciousness of the West that has occurred.’ This was a ‘reactionary response against the scientific rationalisation of nature during the Enlightenment, commonly expressed in literature, music, paintings, and drama.’ In addition, nature alludes to the notion of pantheism ‘where God or a divine creative force is inherent within nature or even the creative power of man himself .’ The poem I have chosen for my poetry anthology, involve the celebration of the beauty of nature in its various dimensions or the intense relationship between nature’s spirit and human experience; collectively helping to appeal the poet’s experiences and ideas about nature.

I have decided to choose the works of the Romantic poet and visionary William Wordsworth, who was regarded as one of the most significant and original Romantic poets of the eighteenth-century. Many people considered him as the leader of the romantic movement in England. Romantic came to him from an inspiration from his family and friends but really his mother. She gave him the future of what his writing is going to based on. William focused a lot of his main ideas on romantic poetry other poets even started to explore the writing of romanticism. He knew that if wrote about what he loved that it would be a hit and make his mother happy about his decision.

The poem that I am going to analyse is I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud which offers a careful expression of William Wordsworth’s emotions, through embracing and incorporating the Romantic’s philosophy of nature, his own life, and personal experiences. In this poem, William is reflecting on past experience of him being in a field of daffodils beside a lake. “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.” He recalls this memory because of how many flowers he sees.

William Wordsworth’s choice of language urges him to personify nature in a vivid way, such as the daffodils “tossing their heads and sprightly dance” and this helps us visualise the daffodil’s beauty luring him into a state of deep mourning of how humanity restored to depraving nature. Inspiration is drawn from nature’s beauty, so the narrator can experience a meaningful and personal emotion, which is reinforced with the subliminal imagery of the daffodils. The poem’s style can be interpreted as being Wordsworthian because it allows the poet to recollect emotions and portray nature as a permanent reconciliation between his two roles as a philosopher and a poet. Geoffrey Durrant asserts that the poem is ‘an account of the experience of poetic creation.’ However, it is also important to consider that the daffodils can be used as motifs of understanding other people’s state of mind. In this case, the narrator becomes an isolated individual at first but later becomes enraptured by nature’s delight, whenever he experiences loneliness. Therefore, Wordsworth explores the impact of nature on humans, through the expression of the poet’s sentiment and how nature will always have an everlasting effect on him.

Overall, I believe that this poem epitomises the central theme of nature in Romantic poetry, through the different perceptions and views of both the poet and reader alike. The concept of nature works in creating a vision of happiness and Romantic poets state that nature has entrusted a strenuous amount of delight to mankind. For William Wordsworth, he believes that nature’s concept is being isolated from humanity’s imagination, through enriching vision and being aware of your own existence, which prevents humanity’s downfall. He believes in the isolation of imagination.

07 July 2022
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