Published September 26, 2010 by:
Katherine de Vere
What Do Nuns, Hermits, Students, Maids and Weavers Have in Common?
By William Wordsworth
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:
Pleas'd 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.
In 1802, William Wordsworth published "Prefatory Sonnet." This is a traditional Petrarchan sonnet with fourteen lines; a rhyming scheme of ABBAABBA and CDDCCD. A Petrarchan sonnet begins with two quatrains rhyming ABBABBA, rhyming scheme of the sestet, final six lines varies, a volta usually occurs around line eight, the ending is usually not a couplet, and the traditional theme is love.
The first eight lines represent the octave, and next six lines are the sestet. Line eight is the volta. This sonnet is written in iambic pentameter. That is, five iambs in a row; an iamb is a metrical unit consisting of a weak stress followed by a strong stress. However, line thirteen is written in the trochaic meter; a trochee is a metrical unit consisting of a strong stress followed by a weak stress. The variation from iamb to trochee adds additional emphasis on line thirteen, which reads, "Who have felt the weight of too much liberty."