By Charles Craver Copyright 1988 All Rights Reserved
Arabian Visions May 1988
Used by permission of Charles Craver.
Readers who enjoy English literature can take pleasure in Wordsworth’s poem telling how he, too, found restrictions of his own choice a source of freedom.
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.
William Wordsworth, 1806
Our favorite poem about Arabian horse breeding was written in 1806 by William Wordsworth. Maybe he never saw an Arabian horse, but he wrote a sonnet which is very pertinent for many of today’s breeders of Arabian horses and particularly for the people who are interested in this little group of Arabian horses which are called Davenports.
Wordsworth chose the sonnet form for this poem. The sonnet is one of the most rigorous forms of poetry in the English language. Much can be said in a sonnet, but what makes a sonnet a sonnet is that everything must be stated in 14 lines of rhymed iambic pentameter. No more. No less. Nothing else will do.
Wordsworth’s sonnet begins “Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room . . .” He goes on to tell of other people who choose restricted lives yet feel no confinement because their choices are voluntary. Then he expresses his contentment at the restrictions of the sonnet form in poetry.
There was a time when most Arabian horses were owned for very utilitarian purposes. The Arabs had them go on raids, and, when horses ceased to be useful for that purpose, most Bedouin owners no longer kept them. Although the horses are a heritage to us from such hands, they are usually not objects of utility in our lives. In large part, our interest in them is aesthetic.
Where we keep and breed these animals for beauty, we are not so different from William Wordsworth, who was seeking beauty, too; In the strict lines of the sonnet, he found freedom of expression. In the strict lines of Arabian horses, we, too, find freedom to express the loveliness of these horses.
Continue reading “Nuns Fret Not”