We visited one of my favorite places on earth mid-week: the Huntsville Botanical Garden. The garden was just waking up, but there was quite a lot of color already to be seen, and much of it came from those harbingers of spring, the daffodils. I couldn’t help but be reminded of this poem when I looked back through our pictures.
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.
I don’t know that such carefully cultivated gardens were what Wordsworth reminisced over in his “pensive mood,” but I seeing such a long row of them helped me see how he could’ve been so inspired. To see a real “host,” I really need look no further than our mailbox flowerbed; there aren’t ten thousand there, but there is, as a beloved English teacher of mine was wont to say, a “gracious plenty.”