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William Wordsworth writes in his “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” that “if the views, with which they [the poems] were composed, were indeed realized, a class of poetry would be produced, well adapted to interest mankind permanently, and not unimportant in the multiplicity and in the quality of its moral relation” (mallor & matlock 574). It has been over two hundred years since Wordsworth penned these lines and yet they have not been lost nor have they been forgotten. The face of poetry has changed since the time of Wordsworth, although mankind’s unwavering fascination with poetry is a testament to its eternal magnetism. In his “Preface,” Wordsworth defines his poetry and his motivation fastidiously and when comparing the theory to the practice in the case of “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” the reader cannot help but notice his strict adherence. In fact, because the poem is written as a first person narrative, and Wordsworth is the subject of his poem, he is writing about how he thinks, thus it is the very essence of theory in practice.
Wordsworth asserts that :
Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from
emotion recollected in tranquility: the emotion is contemplated till by a series of
reaction the tranquility gradually disappears, and an emotion, similar to that which
was before the subject of contemplation, is gradually produced and does itself actually
exist in the mind (580).
This explanation is exemplified in his poem, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.” A lonely poet wanders through the country and is met with a “host” of daffodils. The tranquil scene affects him passively at first as he attempts to take in the scene, then later after returning home he contemplates his experience. After some contemplation, the poet realizes what “wealth this show has brought” (line 18). When the image is recollected during ...
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