Saturday, December 16, 2006

daffodils at the end of autumn

We saw Mrs. Palfrey at The Claremont on dvd last night. Excellent movie. It deserves the praise it's been given. Sure it's sentimental and predictible; none the worse for that. Joan Plowright and supporting cast are marvelous.

But that's not my topic. At an affecting moment toward the end of the film the two principals -- Mrs. Palfrey and her young friend Ludovic Meyer -- help each other remember Wordsworth's poem Daffodils. It's a dramatic moment. She loves Mr. W. He's most fond of W. Blake. Both oh so Romantic. Here's the poem:
"Daffodils" (1804)

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 twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd 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.

By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

Watercolor of daffodils at Gowbarrow, Ullswater, in Wordsworth's Lake District of England. The artist, Susan Cooper, says: "The view inspired William Wordsworth to write his poem "daffodils" 200 years ago. I was in Grasmere for the day today (a day in April) and the Daffodils were out in profusion."

{click to enlarge}

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