Upon the Westminster Bridge

Background

William Wordsworth was enchanted by the early morning view of London from a coach as it crossed the Westminster Bridge on its way to Dover on 31st July 1802. He immediately penned a poem expressing his personal sentiments, perceptions, and interests. Upon the Westminster Bridge was the title of the poem. The poem took its final form on 3 September 1802 upon Wordsworth and Dorothy’s return from France. The Journal of Dorothy Wordsworth attests to these facts.

Summary of Upon the Westminster Bridge

Early in the morning, the poet is crossing the Westminster Bridge over the Thames in a coach. The sun is rising and bathing the great city of London in its first rays. The poet is moved to tears by the scene’s beauty. To him, it is the most lovely sight. Nobody can ignore this one-of-a-kind and magnificent sight. And, if he has any, he is certainly devoid of any appreciation for natural beauty. The city appears to be dressed in a golden sunbeam gown. The city is completely silent and unmistakable. The sky is crystal clear, devoid of dust and smoke. The atmosphere is devoid of noise. Everything is serene and tranquil. Everything about the city, including ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples, is visible even from the green fields in the early morning’s unpolluted air. All are brilliantly illuminated by the rising sun’s golden rays. At sunrise, the valley, rock, and hill are all quite lovely. However, London is the most beautiful city. The river (Thames) is free-flowing. Its path is not obstructed by boats or ships. The houses themselves appear to be sleeping. London, the capital, remains calm and quiet as if a roaring giant has been subdued. The poet addresses God, the creator of all beauty on earth, with an impassioned prayer, expressing his heartfelt gratitude to Him.

Analysis of Upon the Westminster Bridge



Upon the Westminster Bridge is an exquisite sonnet. It follows the Italian model with a regular pattern. The poem’s straightforward diction, metre, and style emphasise the theme’s simplicity, candour, and beauty. The poem is enjoyable to read and comprehend. Additionally, it is a brilliant romantic poem. Wordsworth, a romantic poet, creates a poem that is purely romantic in nature. To him, all of nature is alive. Nature’s magnificent objects stir his inner soul and arouse his admiration for them.

In his poem “Composed Upon the Westminster Bridge.” poet William Wordsworth paints an exquisite pen picture of London city. He is moved to tears by the city’s natural beauty as seen from Westminster Bridge in the early morning. In the splendour of the rising sun, London appears stunning. It appears as though the city of London has been dressed in the morning’s splendour. There was an eerie calm in the air. In the smokeless air, ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples glitter brilliantly. The city has become indistinguishable from the adjacent green fields and the clear sky above. The sun appears to have never shone more brilliantly. The poet has never experienced such tranquillity. The Thames River flows freely. The city’s tranquillity inspires the poet to rejoice. He expresses gratitude to God for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

The first eight lines depict the city as it drapes itself in the sunlit morning and its edifices glitter beneath the sky. The final six lines declare boldly that this man-made “formation” is every bit as beautiful in the sunlight as any natural formation, such as a valley or hill. Additionally, it is equally calming to the observer, as even the houses appear to sleep, much like the people who live in them. The poem begins with an unusual statement, even for a Romantic poet: “Earth has not anything to show more fair.” This statement is surprising because Wordsworth is discussing the city, not nature. He continues by listing the magnificent man-made entities contained within, including “Ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples.” Indeed, the influence of nature is not mentioned until the seventh line, when the speaker describes how the city is “open to the fields, and to the sky.” While the city is not a part of nature, it is most emphatically not at odds with it. This is made even clearer in the following line when the reader discovers that the air is “smokeless” (free from pollution).

Wordsworth continues to astound his reader by declaring that the sun has never shone more brilliantly, even on natural objects. He then humanises the scene, imbuing the sun, the river, the houses, and finally the entire city, which is endowed with a symbolic heart. The reader imagines that the city’s heart beats rapidly during the day, as everything and everyone in it bustles about, but that the city’s heart is “lying still.” now, in the early morning hours. By employing personification in his poem, Wordsworth imbues the city, which is typically viewed as a collection of rock and metal, with a spirit.


The speaker describes what he sees as he stands on Westminster Bridge looking out over the city in lines 1 through 8, which together form a single sentence. He begins by declaring that nothing on Earth is “more fair” than the sight he sees and that anyone who passes the location without pausing to look has a “dull” soul. The poem is set in the “beauty of the morning,” which drapes the silent city like a blanket. He then describes what he sees in the city, noting that it appears to be pollution-free and is “Open unto the fields, and to the sky.”

In lines 9–14, the speaker informs the reader that the sun has never shone more brilliantly, even in nature (“valley, rock, or hill”) and that he has never witnessed or felt such profound calm. He continues by describing how the river (which he personifies) glides along at its own leisurely pace. The poem concludes with an exclamation, stating that “the houses seem asleep” and the city’s heart is silent.


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