I wandered lonely as a Cloud (Daffodils)
by William Wordsworth
Analysis: Form and Meter
"I wandered lonely as a Cloud" has a fairly simple form that fits its simple and folksy theme and language. It consists of four stanzas with six lines each, for a total of 24 lines.
The rhyme scheme is also simple: ABABCC. The last two lines of each stanza rhyme like the end of a Shakespeare sonnet, so each stanza feels independent and self-sufficient. This is called a "rhyming couplet." There aren't even any slant rhymes to trick you. Here's the first stanza with the rhyme scheme labeled:
I wandered lonely as a Cloud (A)
That floats on high o'er vales and Hills, (B)
When all at once I saw a crowd, (A)
A host, of golden Daffodils; (B)
Beside the Lake, beneath the trees, (C)
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. (C)
The meter is iambic tetrameter, which just means that each line has four ("tetra") iambs. An iamb is a short, unaccented syllable followed by a longer, accented syllable. Below is an example. We broke up each of the iambs and put the accented syllables in bold font.
I wan|-dered lone|-ly as | a cloud
That floats | on high | o’er vales | and hills.
The meter is regular and consistent, especially compared to many of Wordsworth’s other poems, which have a more conversational sound. All in all, the poem is as tidy and orderly.