by William Wordsworth

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;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.


Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

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.


The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:


For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

Photo: William Wordsworth’s 1807 manuscript of “Daffodils” (also known as “The Daffodils” and “I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud”), courtesy of The British Library Board.

William Wordsworth (April 7, 1770 – April 23, 1850), along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped usher in English literature’s Romantic Age — defined as a “reaction against the Industrial Revolution” and a movement that “validated strong emotion as an authentic source of aesthetic experience.”

Listen to Jeremy Irons recite “Daffodils” at