The cloud’s-eye vision Wordsworth conjures here is easy to understand with the help
of a map. Wordsworth was fond of this passage. In a letter to Lady Beaumont (10 May
1810), he wrote, “I am very happy that you have read the Introduction [to Select Views] with so much pleasure…. I though the part about the Cottages well-done; and also
liked a sentence where I transport the Reader to the top of one of the Mountains,
or rather to the Cloud chosen for his station, and give a sketch of the impressions
which the Country might be supposed to make on a feeling mind, contemplating its appearance
before it was inhabited.” Commentators have debated the originality of Wordsworth’s
wheel metaphor, but it seems to be his own invention (Owen and Smyser 388-89).