This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Saturday Rave: I wandered lonely as a cloud: some of it by William Wordsworth

Everyone knows the poem that starts:

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...

File:Barn daffodils.jpg
Photo by Forest Wander

It's one of the most famous poems in the English language. A lot of people study it at school (and duly get put off poetry for life).

Still, it's not really a bad poem. Most of it is about the daffodils, but the last bit is about the treasure of memory:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They [the daffodils] flash upon my inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude:
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

The two lines They flash upon my inward eye/Which is the bliss of solitude were actually made up by William's wife Mary Hutchinson. William admitted this himself, and in fact the whole poem is foreshadowed by the account Dorothy wrote of the encounter with the daffodils in The Grasmere Journal.

This means that the poem isn't entirely by William Wordsworth; however, the great disappointment of the poem for me is my recent  discovery that the story that the first line originally went I wandered lonely as a cow...isn't true. There's no evidence for it at all. Someone with a glorious sense of the ridiculous made it up.

The trouble is that I've got far more pleasure in my life from the idea that the first line was about a cow than the whole of the original poem.

But then I never did like daffodils, much.

Word To Use Today: daffodil. Daffodil is a version of the much lovelier word asphodel, which is now a different flower entirely:

File:Asphodeline lutea - Sarı çiriş - Yellow Asphodel 06.JPG
photo by Zeynel Cebeci

 The word comes from the Latin asphodelus.

No comments:

Post a Comment