William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
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.
William Wordsworth, the greatest of the Romantic poets, gloried in nature, but here he reflects upon the inspiration of urban London as he experienced it from Westminster Bridge. Wordsworth was born at Cockermouth, Cumberland, the son of an attorney. He was educated at Hawkshead grammar school and at St. John's College, Cambridge. Both his parents died by the time he was thirteen and he was brought up by relatives. He spent some time in France shortly after the French Revolution whose cause he espoused and in 1797 moved to Somerset with his favourite sister, Dorothy, where he developed a close association with Coleridge. Generally considered the greatest of the Romantic poets, Wordsworth's most creative poetry is his early work with its main themes of the English countryside and the revolutionary spirit of the age. Of his later work, The Prelude, published posthumously, is the most significant. He became Poet Laureate in 1843. From http://www.englishverse.com/poets/wordsworth_william.