I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by is a famous poem by William Wordsworth that describes, in plain language, how a beautiful sward of daffodils cures the speaker’s loneliness. The poem On Being Brought from Africa to America by Phillis Wheatley, on the other hand, is an incredible art piece of work that touches on a diverse range of issues including the subject of slavery. To this end, the two poems differ given the subject matter covered by their creators. However, their difference, in spite of notable similarities, is not solely tied on the central themes but other aspects employed in the world of poetry.
The persona in Wordsworth’s poem is an adult who narrates a previous encounter of a field of daffodils attractively positioned beside a lake. The first stanza reveals the emotional status of the speaker before his experience with the daffodils; loneliness. In the end, the speaker seems uplifted and happy from experience and Wordsworth illustrates this by, “and then my heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils” (lines 23 and 24). In Wheatley’s poem, the persona narrates his experience in bondage and then the introduction to Christianity.
Another aspect of distinction is the tone the poets integrate in their pieces of work. In I Wander Lonely as a Cloud, the tone lies with the opening line and the kind of language defined by choice of words Wordsworth employs. The poem starts in a sad tone denoted by the term “lonely” and then gradually progresses to a joyful mood especially after the encounter with the daffodils. Therefore, the speaker does not stick to a single tone but develops as the play progresses. In On Being Brought from Africa to America, the speaker comes off as a slave narrator forcefully abducted and relocated to America. Wheatley’s creation of the speaker to ponder on her experiences brings out a sense of the speaker vindicating the actions of the slave traders/owners. As controversial as it might sound, the primary tone of in the poem is that of gratitude, and this is revealed through the choice of words Wheatley incorporates into the piece such as ‘pagan land,’ ‘benighted soul,’ ‘sable race’ to refer to her ugly past.
In spite of the differences, both pieces share areas of commonalities. Both poets embrace the role of sound patterns to poems, and in this sense, they sufficiently involve some of the devices into these well-done poems. On Being Brought from Africa to America, considering its structure and length, it can be described as an unusual poem. Nonetheless, Wheatley sneaks in a pretty standard rhyme scheme into the eight-lines long piece. The rhyme scheme denoted by the pattern AA, BB, CC, and DD qualifies as a simple rhyme scheme. Wordsworth also incorporates the same element on his work such that it plays so well on this piece probably because of its suitable length.
The two pieces are a perfect demonstration of despite both the works
being poems, they differ, extensively on multiple levels. For instance, the
authority of the poems is one ground for dissimilarity. Wheatley composes her
poem based on her personal experiences with slavery and Christianity;
Wordsworth, however, it is still unclear whether the creation of the piece was inspired by loneliness or a sad phase is a life. The structural portrayal of the poems
also varies with subject matters employed
showing an outstanding amount of disagreement.
Wheatley, Phillis. “On being brought from Africa to America.” The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature (1773): 435.
Wordsworth, William, and Robert Creeley. I wandered lonely as a cloud. ProQuest LLC, 2004.