Daffodils at Ullswater

Glenridding

East Lakes Accommodation
 
When William and Dorothy Wordsworth visited Glencoyne Park on 15 April 1802, this visit gave Wordsworth the inspiration to write his most famous poem, Daffodils.
 

 
On 15th April 1802, William and Dorothy Wordsworth passed the strip of land at Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater, on their way back to Grasmere after staying the previous night at Eusmere in Pooley Bridge.
 
Dorothy wrote in her journal :
 

‘When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow Park, we saw a few daffodils close to the water side. We fancied that the lake had floated the seed ashore and that the little colony had so sprung up. But as we went along there were more and more and at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that 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 and 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 dancing ever changing.
 
This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here and there a little knot and a few stragglers a few yards higher up but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity and unity and life of that one busy highway. We rested again and again. The Bays were stormy, and we heard the waves at different distances and in the middle of the water like the sea’.

 
Dorothy Wordsworth, The Grasmere Journal – Thursday 15 April 1802.
 
Although it is not recorded, it is almost certain that this gave William the inspiration to write his most famous poem, ‘Daffodils’.
 

THE DAFFODILS

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.

 
William Wordsworth was a frequent visitor to the Ullswater area, and wrote three poems about Aira Force, the most well known being ‘The Somnambulist’ - an ancient tale of knightly love and death, of which the last verse seems to catch the spirit of Aira Force.
 
The falls and surrounding are of Gowbarrow Park are owned by National Trust, as is the area of Glencoyne Bay known as Wordsworth Point.
 
Another place to see a fine display of daffodils associated with William Wordsworth is at Dora’s Field, beside his former home at Rydal Mount.
 

 
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Grid Ref : NY 387190