“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.”
Above is the first verse of William Wordsworth’s famous poem, written in 1807. Recently Alice in Wonderland visited Wordworth’s house in Cumberland, England, part of the serene Lake District.  She was impressed by the house’s graceful beauty and careful restoration. The whole place had a most pleasant air. William was born there on April 7, 1770; his father was a lawyer. William would break away from his prosaic upbringing at the age of 21, when he traveled to Revolutionary France. There he fell in love with both the Revolution and a Frenchwoman, Annette Vallon, with whom he had a love child named Caroline. After the Reign of Terror William became disgusted with the Revolution he had once admired; he returned to England and didn’t see much of Annette or Caroline, though he continued to financially support his daughter until her marriage in 1816. Wordsworth himself would ultimately marry a friend from childhood, Mary Hutchinson, leaving Annette–and his own jealous sister, Dorothy–heartbroken. So much for the constancy of lyrical poets.
Alice in Wonderland, being something of a flake herself, completely understands his free-spirited vibe. A literary child of Romanticism, albeit its late Victorian offshoot, she knows what it is like to toss her head in sprightly dance, like Wordsworth’s daffodils. She also knows what it is like to lie around and recount startling images, of daffodils and otherwise:
“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.”
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