Study Guide

I wandered lonely as a Cloud (Daffodils) Spirituality

By William Wordsworth


I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills, (lines 1-2)

The speaker imagines himself elevated above the world, and his loneliness might be a sign of this higher nature.

A host, of golden daffodils; (line 4)

The word "host" suggests a "heavenly host" or "host of angels." Also, the angels are golden as you might imagine angels would be. They seem to belong to another reality that is nonetheless embedded in nature. There is often no clear division between the earthly world and the spiritual world in Wordsworth’s poetry.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way, (lines 7-8)

The image of the flowers as stars points to the images of angels as innumerable stars in the sky, in works like Dante’s Paradiso. The speaker remains elevated above the world, but now he is not so lonely.

I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought: (lines 17-18)

This statement comes as something of a surprise, because it certainly seems as if he is having an epiphany up there in the hills – either that or a hallucination. But now he says that the full realization of his good fortune did not come until later.

They flash upon that inward eye (line 21)

"Inward eye" sounds a lot more spiritual and prophetic than "memory," doesn’t it?