A little poetry/photo montage for you folks out there today, inspired by the last week I spent in England’s Lake District researching William Wordsworth’s poetry of the Alps. I remained mostly indoors, shuffling through stacks of books at The Wordsworth Trust’s Jerwood Centre in Grasmere, but the landscape just outside the research center has inspired some of the greatest poetry in the English language. One of the most famous poems from this area is William Wordsworth’s “Daffodils” poem (as it is commonly called), written in 1804 and supposedly inspired by a walk the poet took with his sister Dorothy in 1802. Here it goes:
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.
Wordsworth’s Grave, St. Oswald’s Church, Grasmere; View of Grasmere from Dove Cottage; Poet’s Corner in Dove Cottage alley; Dove Cottage Garden; The Wordsworth Trust’s Jerwood Centre.
Wordsworth, William. The Complete Poetical Works. London: Macmillan and Co., 1888; Bartleby.com, 1999. www.bartleby.com/145/. [July 12, 2009].