Be sure to enjoy daffodils—and spring

Be sure to enjoy daffodils—and spring
“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.”
You probably remember those classic lines from your school days. “Daffodils” by William Wordsworth is one of the best-known poems in the English language.
And no wonder—everyone loves the spring of the year. As well, spring and daffodils go together like a cup and saucer.
In April, 1802, Wordsworth and his favourite sister, Dorothy, were strolling on the shores of beautiful Lake Ullswater in the northern part of England when they came across an astonishing stand of wild daffodils.
Dorothy described the experience in her personal diary:
“We saw a few daffodils close to the water side . . . as we went along, there were more and yet more . . . there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road.
“I never saw daffodils so beautiful. They grew among the mossy stones about and about them. Some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness [while] the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake.
“They looked so gay ever glancing, ever changing.”
Although critics describe Dorothy’s writing as “exquisite” and “delicate,” she never published during her lifetime. She once wrote, “I should detest the idea of setting myself up as an author. Give Wm. the Pleasure of it.”
Still, brother and sister often shared their writings with each other. Thus it was that in 1804, two years after they had enjoyed the wild daffodils together, William was inspired by Dorothy’s diary entry to write the immortal poem “Daffodils.”
The Wordsworths were born into a beautiful area of England, called the Lake District. This magnificent landscape inspired a love of nature the siblings shared throughout their lives.
But sadly, the family lost both parents by the time William was 13 and the children were separated.
Fortunately for William, two uncles helped him with his education. When he graduated from Cambridge University in 1791, William Wordsworth already was a published poet.
Four years later, William received an inheritance that allowed him to be reunited with his sister, Dorothy, who suffered from poor health.
William and his wife, Mary, took care of Dorothy for the last 20 years of her life. And throughout that time, Dorothy wrote vivid and beautiful descriptions of the Wordsworth household in her diaries.
Both of the Wordsworth siblings had the ability to observe and describe in detailed eloquence. Their words help us open our eyes more fully.
This week, take a moment to think about the words Dorothy and William created together. And let them inspire you to enjoy the exuberance of spring.
“Ten thousand saw I at a glance/Tossing their heads in sprightly dance/The waves beside them danced, but they/Outdid the sparkling waves in glee/A poet could not but be gay/In such a jocund company.
“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.”
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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