ICSE Class 10 Poems and Short Stories Daffodils (William Wordsworth)
Daffodils Synopsis and Important Questions
The poem ‘Daffodils’ is written by poet William Wordsworth. It is impossible to study English literature without the works of Wordsworth. He is known as one of the greatest romantic poets who have celebrated nature and focused on human emotions. He is considered the pioneer of the romantic era of poetry. This poem is based on one of his real-life experiences. He has elaborated how nature has the power to please and to heal the human mind. Once when Wordsworth had gone for a walk with his sister, he saw a row of daffodils beside a lake. The blowing winds made the daffodils dance to its tune. He found this sight so pleasing and inspiring that he wrote about it in lyrical poetry. The poem is known for its simplicity and its impact on human minds. The poet has described the beautiful sight of daffodils fluttering and how they have uplifted his spirits in times of sadness.
The poem is written in four stanzas of six lines each. It has a folksy theme. This poem has the ‘ababcc’ rhyme scheme.
Being closely associated with nature is always a pleasant feeling. The sight is a source of positivity and is rejuvenation to the soul. Imagine being in a field of flowers or amidst mountains or in woods or in front of a lake or stream. One wouldn’t want to leave such a place. There are many pleasing sights that nature offers to mankind. The poet William Wordsworth had a similar experience when he witnessed a field of golden daffodils beside a lake.
One day, the poet was roaming alone as a lonely cloud wanders above the hills and valleys. The poet is trying to convey that he is not in his best spirits and is feeling low. Suddenly he witnesses a field of golden daffodils. The daffodils have caught his attention and he is attracted to them. He is mesmerised by the beauty of daffodils as they are dancing in the breeze. The flowers are stretching beside the lake and beneath the trees. They are fluttering and moving along with the wind. The flowers are many and stretch as far as the poet can see. All the places are occupied with them and it is a happy sight to see the daffodils dancing merrily to the tunes of the wind.
The poet keeps looking at the golden daffodils and compares them to the stars in the Milky Way. He is fascinated to see them like uncountable stars. The lustre of the daffodils is equivalent to twinkling stars. Just like the stars shine and twinkle in the sky, the daffodils are also shining and twinkling in the valleys and hills. The flowers have occupied the entire place and it looks like a never-ending line. This is an exaggeration of expression done for a better poetic effect. Wherever one sees, one can only find the daffodils. They are at the margin of a bay. They are so many in number that one can see thousands of flowers in a sight. Again there is a use of exaggeration done for enhanced poetic effect. The poet also says that the moving daffodils seem as if they are doing a happy dance.
The poet continues the description of the flowers appreciating their beauty. He also mentions that beside the flowers, the waves in a lake are also dancing and moving. The shining and happy waves can attract one’s attention easily. This is a spectacular visual too. However, it is ignored because of the dancing and floating daffodils. The flowers are so impressive and fascinating that they completely outbarred the fascination of the waves in the lake. It is an ideal atmosphere for the poet. He feels happy and joyful in the company of nature. He further adds that he cannot stop gazing at the flowers. He thinks that he has been exposed to a wealth which very few people can witness. His experience of looking at beautiful daffodils is abundant in wealth and is a form of everlasting memory. He says that he can recall this memory any time in life and feel pleased about it.
In the final stanza, the poet describes the memory that he has acquired as he walked past the valleys and hills covered with daffodils. It was so beautiful a memory that it comes to the mind of the poet as living as it was when he saw it. He is not present at these valleys and hills right now. He is lying in his house on a couch. He probably had a bad day and is sad and worried. Being tired and dejected, he closes his eyes. As soon as he closes his eyes, the picture of dancing daffodils appears from his memory. It has become his pain healer and accompanies him in his solitude. Therefore, the poet mentions that it is the bliss of solitude when he remembers the beautiful scene of the golden daffodils. This is the reason why whenever he is dejected or lies down having nothing to do or feels stressed, he recalls the picture of the valleys and hills covered with golden daffodils. He experiences the same joy as experienced when he was there in front of the fascinating visual. It fills his heart with immense pleasure as if again he was amid the daffodils, and his heart dances with them in excitement.
This is how the poet has explained how nature has become an aid for him in his low times. Just when he recalls the memory experienced years ago, it proves enough for the poet to rejoice in his bad mood. His heart is filled with positivity as he remembers how the daffodils danced to the tune of the wind.
There is a rhythm in this poetry which communicates the music that the poet felt as he saw the daffodils dancing and shining in the fields. The poet has also made use of colourful imagery to convey the brightness of the scene he witnessed.
Short Answer Questions
- Where is the poet wandering? What did he see?
Ans. The poet William Wordsworth was wandering like a lonely cloud on the valleys and hills. While wandering, he came across a host of golden daffodils near the lake and under the branches of the trees.
- Where are the daffodils?
Ans. The daffodils are by the side of the lake and under the trees. The poet called them a crowd because they are packed tightly together. They are fluttering in the breeze as if they are dancing like human beings expressing joy and energy.
- What is the similarity in the stars and the daffodils?
Ans. The crowd of golden daffodils which the poet has seen by the side of the lake under the trees represents that they are many in number. Hence, the daffodils are compared to the stars in the Milky Way. The Milky Way is a cluster of stars which shines brightly in space. Just like the stars, the daffodils are also uncountable and are dancing with energy and joy in a never-ending line. This is how the poet has shown a similarity between the stars and the daffodils.
- What did the daffodils outdo and how?
Ans. The daffodils outdid the waves in the lake. The poet says that there was a lake alongside the daffodils. The daffodils danced like human beings expressing joy and energy. When the breeze blew over them, the waves too were dancing, but in front of the daffodils, they were not looking bright. So, the poet mentions that in spite of being pleasing, the waves could not compete with the beauty of the daffodils.
- What does the poet mean by a jocund company?
Ans. When the poet saw the daffodils that stretched in a never-ending line, he was pleased to see them dancing as the wind blew over them. There was a lake alongside the daffodils which had waves dancing in joy. The poet was bound to be happy in such a joyful company of the daffodils and the waves. This is how the poet has described his experience.
- Explain the phrase ‘inward eye’ as used by the poet.
Ans. The poet feels spiritual connectivity with the beauty of the daffodils dancing in the fields. The phrase ‘inward eye’ is referred to the imagination of the poet as he pictures the dancing daffodils and shining waves which have become a beautiful memory of his life. He uses this phrase as a metaphor in the poem as he imagines the golden daffodils when in a low mood.
- Name and explain the figure of speech used in the following lines:
Beside the lake, beneath the trees
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze
It is a figure of speech in which the sounds of the words convey the sense.
- Explain the literary device used in the following line:
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance
The poet describes the daffodils as living beings tossing their heads and the human quality of dancing is given to flowers.
- Name and explain the literary device used in the following line:
They stretched in never-ending line
The poet has used the effect of exaggeration of an idea for the sake of emphasis.
- Name and explain the figure of speech used in the following line:
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills
The poet likens himself to a wandering cloud.
Long Answer Questions
- Describe the theme of the poem 'Daffodils'.
Ans. The title of the poem is directly linked with the poet’s personal experience with the field of daffodils. The poet is reflecting on his memory and describing it in the poem. The theme of the poem is about nature. There are other things like happiness and memories. His enthusiasm and love for nature are reflected in the poem.
The poet considers himself to be lucky as he is in the company of nature. He has addressed nature as an exposed wealth. He remarks about the experience of witnessing such beautiful daffodils as abundance in wealth. It is the form of everlasting memory which can be used any time in the future. Throughout the poem, he has asserted that the daffodils are more than just flowers. The theme of the poem revolves around the influence of nature on the human mind and also specifies that it has healing power. Whenever the poet is not in a good mood, he recalls his beautiful experience with the daffodils and his heart is filled with pleasure.
- How has the poet described the influence of nature on humans?
Ans. William Wordsworth has used a number of images like clouds, lakes, hills, stars etc. to depict the influence of nature on man. The poem begins with the poet wandering lonely like a cloud. As soon as he sees the daffodils growing along the margin of the bay fluttering and dancing, he is captivated by their beauty. The poet has compared himself to a cloud and the daffodils have been personified as human beings dancing in tossing their heads in sprightly dance. This is how Wordsworth has depicted the inherent unity between man and nature. He describes daffodils as the healing and refreshing power of nature. The poet says that when he lies down on his couch in a pensive mood, the images of golden daffodils splashes before him and changes his mood. The poet who was lonely at the beginning of the poem experiences the bliss of solitude by the end of the poem. He feels joyful and refreshed. This is how nature influences him. The memory of daffodils fills his heart with joy and he feels as if his heart is dancing with the daffodils.
At the beginning of the poem, the poet was floating high but emotionally was low. However, at the end of the poem, the poet in spite of lying idle or pensive on the couch was experiencing emotional bliss. This happened because of the influence of nature which was so everlasting for the poet that he felt pleasure and bliss whenever he remembers the experience.
- Describe/Discuss the impulse of feelings narrated by the poet in the poem.
Ans. The poet William Wordsworth has written this poem adoring the daffodils that he saw stretched over a field. He had a delightful experience and obtained a pleasant memory to last a lifetime. Wordsworth, who has defined poetry as the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings arising from emotions recollected in tranquillity, was inspired by the beauty of the dancing flowers spread along the bay. He recollected his feelings long after the experience and wrote a poem to describe his love for nature. The poem tells us that the impression of the beauty of nature was so strong that even after many years the memory was more than enough to lighten his mood and give him company when he was alone in his room. He has described the beautiful picture of daffodils, shining waves and dancing flowers which became a part of his being. This shows the impulse of nature on his feelings.
- How are daffodils presented in this poem?
Ans. The poet William Wordsworth has presented daffodils as a source of healing and pleasure for the human mind. Accordingly, nature clouds this entire poem. ‘Daffodil’ which is a common flower has been sketched with extraordinary qualities. The poet was wandering as a lonely cloud when he saw the vast belt of daffodils stretch along the margin of the bay. He has compared the daffodils to the stars that shine brightly in the Milky Way. He says that the daffodils were so many that they could be compared to the twinkling stars in the night sky. He also said that the beauty of the daffodils completely outdid the beauty of the waves in the lake which was alongside them. The golden daffodils symbolise the magical effect which was created on the mind of the poet. These daffodils have the power to change the mood of the poet from loneliness to happiness. The poet feels happy by recollecting the memory of the golden daffodils fluttering and dancing. The poet thus feels one with nature. He has presented the daffodils more than just flowers, as a symbol of brightness and joy.
- How did the daffodils uplift the poet's mood?
Ans. The poet has seen a crowd of daffodils dancing to the tunes of the wind beside a lake. This picture is so healing and refreshing that the poet considers it a happy memory for a lifetime. The effect of the dancing daffodils has inspired the poet to write this poem. The poet says that he recollects this memory whenever he feels sad. In the poem, he has described it by saying that whenever he lies down on his couch in a pensive mood or whenever he is unoccupied and sad, the pleasant memory of the daffodils flashes upon his eyes of imagination. This has become a source of joy and inspiration to him. He feels the same pleasure that he felt when he had first seen them and his heart rejoices. This is how the daffodils have helped him to uplift his mood in sadness.
- Describe the wealth that the poet has referred to in the poem.
Ans. The poet William Wordsworth has witnessed lots of daffodils along a bay. He is extremely thrilled and happy to see such a beautiful sight. The daffodils outdid the waves in the lake. The daffodils seemed to be dancing like human beings expressing their joy and energy when the breeze blew over them. The waves were also dancing, but in front of the daffodils, they were not looking as bright and so could not compete with them. The poet is referring to the joyful company of the host of golden daffodils and the beautiful waves in the lake. The wealth which is referred to here by the poet means the wealth of joy and happiness which actually comes from happy and fond memories. The golden daffodils by the side of the lake beneath the trees along with the waves in the lake left a lasting impression on Wordsworth. This delightful picture has become a fond memory for the poet and so he refers to it as the wealth that he achieved.
- Explain the bliss of solitude and the context it is used in.
Ans. The poet had witnessed a host of golden daffodils by the side of the lake beneath the trees which became a fond memory for him. These daffodils were dancing expressing joy and energy. The poet uses the phrase bliss of solitude to highlight his idea about the daffodils. The memory of these flowers is so everlasting that it seems to entertain him even when he is all alone and has no one to accompany him or no work to do. It has become an integral part of his life and is best realised when he is left in solitude. The poet says that his mood is uplifted when he thinks of the happy picture of the flowers dancing to the tunes of the wind. The poet who was lonely at the beginning of the poem experiences bliss in his solitude by the end of the poem. This is how the daffodils have become to him a source of joy.
- What are the feelings that the poet has experienced when he saw the golden daffodils?
Ans. The poet William Wordsworth was wandering alone when he came across lots of golden daffodils stretched along a bay. The poet was thrilled to see a host of golden daffodils by the side of the lake under the trees moving their heads in a joyful manner. They seem to be dancing like human beings expressing their energy and joy when the poet saw the flowers. His imagination travels to another world to find a comparison. He compared them to the twinkling stars in the Milky Way at night as they are many in number. The poet thinks that the stars in the sky hold equivalent brightness as that of the crowd of daffodils. The long line of daffodils is like bright stars in the night sky. He has found extreme joy and pleasure in the company of nature. This image of the daffodils seems ingrained in his memory forever.
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