On April 15, the Romantic poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy wandered into the woods beyond Gowbarrow Park located in the English Lake District and saw a few daffodils close to the waterside. As they went along they saw more and yet more, and at last under the boughs of the trees, they saw a long belt of them along the shore. Dorothy wrote that she had never seen daffodils so beautiful. Much affected by the experience, Wordsworth wrote one of his most famous poems on the subject, commonly known as “Daffodils.” Wordsworth described himself as a lover of nature—the inspiration behind much of his poetry. April 15th is a wonderful day to appreciate and celebrate nature’s beauty.
The Cake to Celebrate (2023)
This year (2023) Daffodils Day was celebrated with both cupcakes and a sheet cake topped with flowers. The cupcakes were decorated with handmade butter frosting resembling daffodils, while the sheet cake flowers were made with an edible gum paste (a type of fondant). The "sponge" was made without using either butter or eggs.
The Cake to Celebrate (2022)
The baker used these daffodils as inspiration for the cake decoration in 2022.
Our program for Daffodils Day began with an introduction to Wordsworth and Romantic Period poetry. In addition to discussing the Industrial Revolution, its social and economic effects, and England's literary response to it, we talked about the "Computer Revolution," its effects, and the 21 century's failure to respond to it. The students then read excerpts from Wordsworth's monumental ode, "Intimations of Immortality." An entry from Dorothy Wordsworth's journal dated April 15, 1802 was then read (included below). Before slicing into the cake, two students volunteered to recite Wordsworth's poem, "Daffodils" (also below).
Dorothy Wordsworth Journal
April 15, 1802
It was a threatening, misty morning, but mild. . . . The wind seized our breath. The lake was rough. There was a boat by itself floating in the middle of the bay below Water Millock. We rested again in the Water Millock Lane. The hawthorns are black and green, the birches here and there greenish, but there is yet more of purple to be seen on the twigs. We got over into a field to avoid some cows--people working. A few primroses by the roadside—woodsorrel flower, the anemone, scentless violets, strawberries, and that starry, yellow flower which Mrs. C. calls pile wort. When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow Park we saw a few daffodils close to the water-side. We fancied that the sea had floated the seeds ashore, and that the little colony had so sprung up. But as we went along there were more and yet 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 above 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 glancing, ever changing. This wind blew directly over the lake to them. There was here and there a little knot, and a few stragglers higher up; but they were so few as not to disturb the simplicity, unity, and life of that one busy highway. . . .
I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud
by William Wordsworth
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
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.
The First (Purported) Daffodils Day Cake
It is my hope that celebrating Daffodils Day will create pleasant memories and associations that will help students develop a life-long appreciation of poetry.