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.
William Wordsworth, celebrated British poet and England's poet laureate in 1843, was orphaned by age 13 and was largely disinterested in academics. His friendship with Samuel Coleridge, in conjunction with a financial grant bestowed him at a friend's death, marked the beginning of his devotion to poetry. Around 1791 Wordsworth traveled to France and met a woman with whom he had an illegitimate daughter. He supported this child financially though he returned to England in 1792 and later married his childhood friend, fathering 5 children. By the end of his life Wordsworth, the most celebrated poet in the world, was considered primary to the English Romantic movement, characterized by writing which focused largely on relationships with nature.
Wordsworth wrote "Daffodils" in 1804, the first poem I remember memorizing as a young student.