“Thoughts on My Sick-bed” (manuscript), 1832

Image from Dove Cottage Manuscript 120, Courtesy the Wordsworth Trust

This poem was written by Dorothy in a notebook while bedridden in her family home in Rydal, England. Wordsworth was an avid walker and mountaineer, but in 1829, she suffered the first of a series of debilitating attacks on her physical and mental health that would plague her for the last twenty years of her life. Though often confined to her sick-bed and suffering from pain and fatigue, Wordsworth took great pleasure in writing poetry as a way to preserve the fond memories of her life. In her poem “Thoughts on My Sick-bed,” Dorothy takes comfort from walking in memory.