Wordsworth reads “Daffodils” at Rydal Mount

christopher in the daffsWilliam Wordworth’s great great great great grandson came home to the Lake District this week to read the world’s best loved poem published by his ancestor 200 years ago.

Christopher Wordsworth recited Daffodils at the house near Ambleside, Rydal Mount, where William lived for most of his life. The house is still owned by the Wordsworth family.

Christopher’s audience was a crowd, a host, of young poets, with their families and teachers, from across Cumbria who had entered the annual Wordsworth Young Poets award. They listened as he also read out the winning poem, The Jigsaw of Me, by 13 year old Jessica Dickinson from Cockermouth, a pupil at Keswick School.

William wrote two versions of Daffodils, the longer, later one being the version which is widely known today.

 

First version

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 dancing Daffodils;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: —
A poet could not but be gay
In such a laughing 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.

Composed, 1804
Published, Poems in Two Volumes 1807

Second version

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.

Published in Collected Poems, 1815

 

The Jigsaw of Me

By Jessica Dickinson (13), Keswick School

 

I wandered into my childhood,

Reminiscing one autumn day…

My creased eyes saw with joy

Each defining moment that shaped my mind, my life,

What treasures did I discover anew?

Fireworks shining in my mum’s eyes,

A swing to carry me to the top of the world,

A witch’s hat; a twinkling pumpkin greeting us and our tricks,

Santa, vibrant red, and a kind smile,

Summer days to run free and wild,

Oh no; that clown, a puppet, evil smile

Put him AWAY

A perfumed hug, everything’s OK

Colouring shapes on rainy days

My foot traces patterns on a sandy beach,

Laughing with friends until I cry,

And now but now, all my days are Autumn,

Winter draws close

Gnarled knotty hands, gnarled knotty trees,

Time to hibernate?

But my memories, like a toasty heart-warming fire keeping me aglow

Childhood memories

The jigsaw of me.

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