Thursday, 10 July 2014

A special request

Someone asked me to post their favourite English poem. It is by William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and is the one about the daffodils. It might not seem very appropriate in July but my memories of the lake district, which inspired the poem are of a very hot Summer. We just happened to go on holiday to the Lake District one exceptionally hot and sunny Summer. We knew it was unusual , all the postcards for sale outside the souvenir shops  showed sheep and rain. We had sunshine and blue skies all the time. It was so hot that we asked if we could eat outside on the terrace of the hotel. They very kindly prepared us a table overlooking Lake Windermere while everyone else sat inside looking at us. The lake was the lowest it had ever been . Children played in all the streams and on the shore, all engaged in timeless activities like skimming stones and looking for treasures to put in their buckets and nets.
We visited Dove Cottage where Wordsworth lived , thirteen people in one room the size of a small kitchen. They must have been a lot smaller then. We saw Beatrix Potter's house and the beautiful countryside that had inspired so many of her stories. We also had the Peter Rabbit experience and saw all  our favourite characters brought to life. So in my memory the Lake District is a warm, sunny area of exceptional beauty full of friendly kind people . No rain or sheep to be seen.

So here is the poem. It is probably the best loved of Wordsworth's poems . Although it is set in Spring  it is lovely to think of the Lake District in summer time too.

I wander'd 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 twinklle 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.

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