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Two sonnets by William Wordsworth

W.W. was instrumental in initiating the Romantic Age in English literature

William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth

The Virgin

  • Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
  • With the least shade of thought to sin allied.
  • Woman! above all women glorified,
  • Our tainted nature’s solitary boast;
  • Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
  • Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
  • With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
  • Before her wane begins on heaven’s blue coast;
  • Thy image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween,
  • Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,
  • As to a visible Power, in which did blend
  • All that was mixed and reconciled in thee
  • Of mother’s love with maiden purity,
  • Of high with low, celestial with terrene!

Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent’s Narrow Room

  • 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, into 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.

William Wordsworth (1770–1850) was an English poet and along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) was instrumental in initiating the Romantic Age in English literature with Lyrical Ballads (1798), which the two poets published jointly. His most accomplished work is the long poem The Prelude, but he was also well known for rejuvenating the sonnet as a literary form. He was the Poet Laureate of Britain from 1843 until his death.

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William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth

The Virgin

  • Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
  • With the least shade of thought to sin allied.
  • Woman! above all women glorified,
  • Our tainted nature’s solitary boast;
  • Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
  • Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
  • With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
  • Before her wane begins on heaven’s blue coast;
  • Thy image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween,
  • Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,
  • As to a visible Power, in which did blend
  • All that was mixed and reconciled in thee
  • Of mother’s love with maiden purity,
  • Of high with low, celestial with terrene!

Nuns Fret Not at Their Convent’s Narrow Room

  • 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, into 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.

William Wordsworth (1770–1850) was an English poet and along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) was instrumental in initiating the Romantic Age in English literature with Lyrical Ballads (1798), which the two poets published jointly. His most accomplished work is the long poem The Prelude, but he was also well known for rejuvenating the sonnet as a literary form. He was the Poet Laureate of Britain from 1843 until his death.

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