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 I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud  

2010-12-03 15:40:03|  分类: NOTEBOOK |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” was written by William Wordsworth, the representative poet of the early romanticism. As a great poet of nature, William Wordsworth was the first to find words for the most elementary sensations of man face to face with natural phenomena. These sensations are universal and old but, once expressed in his poetry, become charmingly beautiful and new. His deep love for nature runs through short lyrics such as “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”
  I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
  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.
  “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” is a poem about nature. With his pure and poetic language, Wordsworth brings us into a beautiful world where there are daffodils, trees and breeze. We follow the poet at every turn of his feelings. We share his melancholy when he “wandered lonely as a cloud” and his delight the moment his heart “with pleasure fills ”. We come to realize the great power of nature that may influence our life deeply as revealed in the poem.
  Edgar Allan Poe once described poetry as “ music… combined with a pleasure idea”. In the poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, the poet also makes great use of the “music ”of the language to achieve sound beauty in addition to convey meaning. He employs masculine rhyme in “a, b, a, b, c, c” pattern to receive emphasis as a musical effect. (e.g. “cloud” (a), “hills” (b), “crowd” (a), “daffodils” (b), “trees” (c), “breeze” (c) in stanza 1). He also achieves musical quality by the management of alliteration (e.g. “That floats on high o’er vales and hills” in line 2 and “Beside the lake, beneath the trees” in line 5) and assonance (e.g. “beneath the trees in line 5” and “ They stretched in never-ending line” in line 9) and consonance (e.g. “ vales and hills” in line 2 ). Besides the repetition of sounds, the poet also makes his poem a strong appeal for us in language that is rhythmical. He arranges his poem in lines of iambic tetrameter in the main with alternation of iambic trimeter.
  ( e.g. 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 )
  He slowed down the tempo in line 4 to keep in accordance with his bated breath the moment he glimpses at a host of golden daffodils thus convey to us the poet’s intoxication in the face of nature. With all these musical devices, Wordsworth secures a songlike effect of his poem in addition to communicate his emotion and meaning.
  An old saying goes “There are pictures in poetry and poetry in pictures”. It finds its most eloquent examples in most of the Chinese Tang poems that present the readers with beautiful pictures. In the poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, the poet also seeks to express his emotions by providing the sense impressions he has through imagery. He depicts a picture in which “a host of golden daffodils (visual imagery) fluttering and dancing in the breeze” (kinaesthetic imagery) so vividly that it appeals richly to our senses and to our imagination.
  Wordsworth, in the poem, also employs figurative language to evoke not only the visual effect but also the emotional response. (e.g. in line 1, the poet makes a comparison between “I wandered lonely” and “a cloud” by the use of simile, thus convey to us his lonely and melancholy mood with the image of “cloud”. In line 7, he also amplifies the visual effect by the use of another simile “Continuous as the stars that shine…” to evoke our sense of “daffodils” with the image of “stars” twinkling on the milky way which is familiar to us all. He goes further to impress us with the image of countless daffodils with an overstatement in line 9 “They stretched in never-ending line”). Besides, natural things are also endowed with human being’s characters by the poet’s subtle use of personification. (e.g. “Tossing their heads in sprightly dance” “The waves beside them danced”) therefore, as we read the poem, we become aware of the poet’s deep love toward nature through his lovely and vivid description about natural things with his figurative language.
  What’s more, Wordsworth goes further to communicate his emotion and meaning by his thoughtful tone. The choose of the word “lonely” in “I wandered lonely as a cloud” instead of other words like carefree, leisure or jolly convey to us the poet’s depression and disconsolateness at the very beginning. But as he catches sight of daffodils stretching as far as the eyes can see and finds himself in the midst of nature, his loneliness turns into relaxation and joy. Thus the shift of the poet’s mood from sadness to happiness manifests the theme --- the great influence of nature upon human being.
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