“Nuns Fret Not”: A Sonnet by William Wordsworth (1807)

Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room;

And hermits are contented with their cells;

And students with their pensive citadels;

Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom,

Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom,

High as the highest Peak of Furness-fells,*

Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells:

In truth the prison, unto which we doom

Ourselves, no prison is: and hence for me,

In sundry moods, ’twas pastime to be bound

Within the sonnet’s scanty plot of ground;

Pleased if some souls (for such there needs must be)

Who have felt the weight of too much liberty,

Should find brief solace there, as I have found.


*Mountains in the Lake District.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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1 Response to “Nuns Fret Not”: A Sonnet by William Wordsworth (1807)

  1. aunty dawkins says:

    An interesting evocation of the solitary pleasure to be found whilst one’s brain maybe in a different place to one’s body,metaphorically speaking. Psychologists might call this state as being ‘in the flow’ which for a ‘creative’ like Wordsworth was a happy place to be sometimes as an antidote to the vast beauty of nature, which he also extolled.
    In this sonnet it is also interesting how Wordsworth had to be very creative in his manipulation of the text to fit into the 10 beat rhythm of iambic pentameter.

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