The Daffodils By William Wordsworth- Summary and Questions Answers

The Daffodils By William Wordsworth- Summary and Questions Answers



A great lover of nature, William Wordsworth, had once wandered aimlessly just like a cloud floats in the sky. He had suddenly come across countless golden daffodils by the side of a lake. Those golden daffodils were fluttering and dancing in the air, appearing like stars twinkling in the sky. The made as if they were dancing in a frenzy.

The poet compares the golden daffodils with the stars that shine and twinkle in the sky. The poet feels the number of the daffodils as never-ending as the stars in the Milky Way.

The waves of the lake are also dancing but the dance of the daffodils surpassed the dance of the waves in happiness. The poet is wonderfully delighted in such a pleasant company. According to the poet, he could scarcely realize that he was collecting a treasure in his mind.

As time went on the poet found himself in the vacant or pensive mood but the beautiful sight of the golden daffodils began appearing in his mind and that recollection filled the poet’s heart with extraordinary delight.

In a nutshell, the poem exemplifies how William words worth, a pantheist, derive extraordinary bliss in the most ordinary things.

The Daffodils Summary


Have you spent some time thinking about this poem? If not, go back and do so before you proceed on.

What were your initial thoughts while reading this poem? Is the poem already very familiar to you? If so, did you try to read it differently? Did you try to apply what you learned in the first lesson?

The first aspect of the poem that is clearly visible is its structure: it’s neatly divided into stanzas of six lines each. The poem is written in iambic tetrameter. The word ‘iambic’ comes from the term ‘iamb’. In poetry, an iamb consists of one unstressed syllable and one stressed syllable. If you read the poem aloud, you’ll find that every other syllable is stressed while speaking.

Stanza 1

I wandered lonely…………. in the breeze.

Did you notice the contrasts in this stanza? The poet is depicted as a single, lonely person. The daffodils aren’t just a ‘crowd’ but a ‘host’. Think about the connotative meaning of the word ‘host’. It has many connotations, but as a collective noun, it is used most often to refer to angels. This meaning recalls one of the most fundamentals concerns of most Romantic poets: to think of nature the way others think of religion. What the poet can derive from observations of the natural world is no less important than the lessons taught by religious doctrines. By comparing himself to a cloud, the poet is perhaps trying to participate in the natural order of things or perhaps trying to pretend that he is a cloud in order to avoid confronting whatever issues make him lonely.

Also interesting in this stanza is the difference between the actions of ‘fluttering’ and ‘dancing’. Usually, something flutters because something else causes it to flutter. However, dancing conveys a sense of agency: it’s an active action, whereas ‘fluttering’ is a more passive one.

Stanza 2

Continuous as the stars……. in sprightly dance.

In this stanza, Wordsworth makes use of hyperbole or exaggeration by saying that he saw ‘ten thousand’ daffodils ‘at a glance’. The word ‘never-ending’ is also an exaggeration. Here, the poet is drawing attention to the fact that perception can differ from reality. The daffodils aren’t actually in a never-ending line, but there are so many of them that the line seems never-ending; so, in one sense, it is never-ending because the eye cannot see the end of it.

Note how the dancing from the previous stanza has now become a ‘sprightly dance’. It is even more vibrant now, and the addition of the description ‘tossing their heads’ really does make it seem as though the flowers have an active will of their own.

Stanza 3

The waves beside……… to me had brought:

Are you beginning to notice how the poet ascribes human qualities to the natural world? In this stanza, it isn’t just the flowers but also the waves that are dancing. The intensity of emotions conveyed is also steadily increasing as the poem progresses. From being ‘sprightly’ in the previous stanza, the flowers are now full of ‘glee’. Note the implication that the glee is infectious: it appears as though the daffodils have passed it on to the waves, and to the poet himself.

The repetition of the word ‘gazed’ reinforces the idea that the speaker looked at the scene for a long time. Until this point in the poem, we are given the literal description of the scene that the poet is looking at. Just as he has no thoughts about the ‘wealth’ that the scene has given him, so his readers are only given descriptions without accompanying ideas. The use of the word ‘show’ suggests a rehearsed performance: it is almost as though the poet is suggesting that the daffodils are the protagonists in a theatrical tableau.

Also notice that this stanza ends with a colon, suggesting a continuation of thought. In grammatical terms, colons are often used before definitions and explanations. So we can expect the final stanza to exemplify the meaning of the previous section of the poem.

Stanza 4

For oft, when on my couch …… dances with the daffodils.

‘For’ often conveys the meaning of ‘because’. The word seems to suggest that this stanza will present us with the explanation for why the poet says that watching the ‘show’ brought him ‘wealth’. Doesn’t the image of lying on a couch suggest the idea of being in a psychiatrist’s office? Wordsworth seems to be suggesting that recalling the scene with the daffodils is therapeutic to him. The ‘inward eye’ is that of memory, on which the scene has been imprinted in such a way that it flashes to life when the poet is in a ‘vacant’ or ‘pensive’ mood. Note again how the word ‘flash’ suggests an active action. The poet doesn’t say that he deliberately tries to remember the scene. The scene flashes into his mind, and it does so often (‘oft’), almost as though it has a will of its own that allows it to enter the poet’s mind whenever he is in a receptive mood.

Also, note the relationship between the time-related words ‘when’ and ‘then’. When something happens, then something else happens: this correlation indicates a cause and effect relationship. When the daffodils flash into the poet’s ‘inward eye’, then his heart fills with pleasure. The words ‘bliss’ and ‘pleasure’ continue the sense of ‘glee’ from the previous paragraph.

The peak of the poet’s ‘bliss’ here is that his heart ‘dances with the daffodils.’ It’s almost as though the scene is recreated, and this time the poet can actually participate in the ‘show’ rather than just be an observer. In this sense, the memory of the scene seems even more powerful than the poet’s encounter with the scene.

Discussion 1
1. After reading the poem, can you guess what a daffodil is?
Ans. The daffodil is a flower that is yellow and therefore comparable to gold in its colour. They usually grow near lakes. On seeing the yellow daffodils the poet perhaps recollects some golden memories that he cherishes in the lonely time. He, therefore, calls them ‘golden daffodils’.

Q. Why does the poet compare the daffodils to stars?

Ans. The poet compares the daffodils to stars because the daffodils stretch in never-ending line like the stars in the galaxy. Moreover, like stars, the daffodils shine as they are golden and also twinkle like the stars as they flutter due to the breeze. This is a clear indication that daffodils are heavenly stars.

Q. Why has the poet described solitude as being blissful?

Ans. The poet described solitude as being blissful because when the poet is lonely and not doing anything the thought of golden daffodils that he has seen dancing and fluttering in the valley fills his mind with pleasure and he rejoices the moment.

Q. What does the inward eye mean? What is it that flashes upon his eye? Do you think the poet is affected by it in any way? Give reasons.
Ans. The inward eye means visual imagination that takes the poet to the world of past recollection. It is something that can not be shared with other people. The golden daffodils which he has seen in the valley flash upon his inward eye. The memory of dancing and fluttering daffodils fills his heart with pleasure.
It is like a spiritual vision that brings a feeling of joy. It is a blessing for the poet. That is why the poet calls the inward eye a ‘bliss of solitude’.

9. Where were the daffodils growing ?
Answer: The Daffodils were growing beside the lake under the trees.

Q. What are the objects the poet compares with the daffodils?

Answer: The poet compares the daffodils with the dancing waves and shining and twinkling stars.

Q. What is the effect of daffodils on the poet?

Answer: The daffodils fill the poet’s heart with pleasure and he feels happy with them.

Q. What is the bliss of solitude according to the poet ?

Answer: When the person is in solitude and there is nobody around him. He is all alone. He has the opportunity to think of nature. In the poem the poet says that when he is either busy thinking or not thinking about any thing he is reminded of the daffodils. He says that loneliness becomes lovely if he thinks about daffodils in his loneliness. When he remembers the daffodils he starts feeling happy, content and perfectly at peace with himself. This happens because of solitude.

Q. Why does the poet stop on seeing the daffodils ?

Answer: The poet stops on seeing the daffodils because never before in his life had he seen such beautiful golden daffodils and that too in such a very large number. He is completely attracted towards them.

Q. What is the theme of this poem ?
Answer: The healing and refreshing effect of Nature is the theme of this poem.

Q. What is the rhyme scheme of the poem?
Ans. The rhyme scheme of the poem is ababcc.

Reference To The Context

1. Continuous as the stars that………in sprightly dance.

Reference: These lines are taken from the poem “the Daffodils” written by William Wordsworth. The poet feels elated at the sight of the countless number of the daffodils that have grown by the side of the lake.
Context: In the lines under reference, the poet compares the golden daffodils with the stars that shine and twinkle in the sky.

a) What does “they” refer to?
A. ‘They’ refers to the golden daffodils.
b) Why have they been compared to the Milky Way?
A. They have been compared to the Milky Way because the poet feels the number of the daffodils as unending as the stars in the Milky Way.
c) Pick out an example personification from these lines. What is the picture created through this description?

A. The example of personification is as under:

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The picture created by this description is one of the happy dancers dancing and tossing their heads against each other in a very happy situation.
d) Find an example of a rhyming couplet from these lines.
A. The example of the rhyming couplet from these lines is as under.
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

2. Ten thousand saw I at……..a jocund company!

a) What did the poet see at a glance? We’re they really ten thousand in number?
A. The poet saw a countless number of daffodils at a glance. No, they were not really ten thousand in number. It is the poet’s way of describing the innumerable and unending sight of the daffodils. Such use of things is called hyperbole.

b) How do “they” outdo the waves?
A. The daffodils outdid the waves in happiness and joy for they were both happy but the daffodils appeared to the poet much happier than the waves and that is how the poet describes the way the daffodils outdid the waves.
c) What do the waves refer to?
A. The waves refer to the raised lines of water that fly over the surfaces of the daffodils.

d)How did the scene affect the poet?
A. The scene affected the poet emotionally. It made the poet feel emotionally satisfied and blissful.

e) Pick out three words that mean “being happy”?
A. The words that mean being happy are “glee”, “gay”,’ jocund’

f) Find two examples of personification from these lines?
A. Tossing their heads in sprightly dance the waves beside them danced.

3. I gazed- and gazed – but little thought
…….the bliss of solitude;

a) What is the wealth that the poet is referring to these lines? What kind of poetic device is it?
A. The poet is referring to the wealth of being, happy, the wealth of joy. It is not a reference to the material gains or whatever amounts be worldly. It is the wealth of being happy in the company of daffodils.

The poetic device used in it is’ metaphor’.

b) Why does the poet refer to it as ‘wealth’?
A. The poet refers to it as ‘wealth’ because it brings both emotional and spiritual satisfaction and emotional bliss.

c) When does the poet feel blissful?
A. The poet feels blissful even when he is not in the company of daffodils and also simply when he gets reminded of them.

d) Why does the poet refer to it as being a ‘blissful’ state?
A. The poet refers to it as being a blissful state because he derives a spiritual and emotional bliss. Even when the poet is completely alone where normally a person cannot be but sad. The remembrance of the beauty of the daffodils makes his solitude blissful.

e) Had the poet realised the importance of the scene when he had first seen it? Give reasons for your answer?
A. No, the poet had not realized the significance of the scene when he had first seen if because, in accordance with the poet, he could not visualize what wealth of joy the sight of the daffodils had brought to him. He could scarcely believe that the recollection of the scene of the daffodils would make his vacant times a source of happiness and satisfaction.

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