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The Independent Online

A poem without a title that began "I wandered lonely as a cloud" irritated England's literati when it was penned by William Wordsworth. Even the poet's friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge thought it contained elements of "mental bombast".

A poem without a title that began "I wandered lonely as a cloud" irritated England's literati when it was penned by William Wordsworth. Even the poet's friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge thought it contained elements of "mental bombast".

But the accessibility of the poem was given a fitting tribute yesterday when, 200 years after it was written, a quarter of a million British schoolchildren recited it simultaneously.

The reading of the poem, now known as "Daffodils", broke the record for the world's largest poetry reading, held by 3,701 children who read Patience Agbabi's poem "Word" on National Poetry Day four years ago.

From Hampstead Hill School in north London - where the poet laureate Andrew Motion led a reading - to Wordsworth's Dove Cottage in the Lake District, the event attracted more than 1,100 schools in a charity event which raised £266,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Motion said: "What was obtained from this reading was the absolute primitive pleasure that poetry can give. This is the perfect poem for children due to its strong and simple language and rhythm."

Ilana Ledermann, aged seven, said: "It makes me really excited when I read the poem because it has lovely old-fashioned words."

Max Bailey, aged seven, said: "I like 'Daffodils'. It rhymes very nicely and flows along well. It was good fun reading it together."

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