Essays On Composed Upon A Westminster Bridge


The idea that nature´s beauty is worth writing poems about was not new to the poet Wordsworth. In poems like “I wandered lonely as a cloud” and “A slumber did my spirit seal” he portrayed nature as gorgeous majesty where life begins and ends in. He was a poet with faith in the beauty of nature. Most of his poems can therefore in one way or another be related to nature. And Wordsworth, as a wanderer on earth who paid much attention to his environment, was able to SEE this reality with all their beauty - and put it into words.

On this September morning in 1802 he walks across London´s Westminster Bridge and gets enchanted – but not by nature that catches his eye, but by the sight of a city.

Many sources claim that Wordsworth was accompanied by his sister, since she wrote about the walk over Westminster Bridge in her diary. In fact, it is not important to elaborate if this is true or not, since Wordsworth - the speaker of this poem – is only talking about HIS feelings and impressions.

The poem´s main emphasis lies on a subjective description of the city of London at morning. Everything is calm and quiet, people are still asleep, the sun is shining and the chimneys of the industry have not yet started polluting the air.

In order to describe the beauty of this city, Wordsworth uses well-known pictures from the wordfield of nature. Since he has more experience in describing nature, he now describes a city´s beauty in natural terms.

This connection between nature and the city is achieved by imagination. The speaker´s position is an artificial one – he imagines the city´s beauty by remembering all the little details that turned this moment on the bridge into a special one. Due to his faith in his own imagination he can refresh his emotions that he had while walking over the bridge.

So “Faith” and “Beauty” are the concepts with which Wordsworth works in this poem. But it is less the faith in God but the faith in imagination and the beauty of a city that form the topic of this poem. To underline this thesis, the connection between nature, city and imagination form the center of discussion in this paper.

Lines composed upon Westminster Bridge, Sept. 3, 1802:

The contrast between rural landscape and city is obvious:

Landscape is created by nature (or God if you want), a city is man-made.

Nature stands as a symbol for peace, something that creates itself without help from outside.

Cities show the face of humankind, they embody pollution, hectic and noise.

Although Wordsworth´s poem does not refer to nature as the center of discussion, he still uses nature to simplify and explain the beauty of the city. He uses contrasting elements (city & nature) to explain them – and because the reader gets to know his passionate relationship to nature, it is easier to understand Wordsworth´s sudden love for the city.

“Earth has not anything to show more fair”- a sentence that could not be more convincing in its declaration. Even for Wordsworth, who knew about all the wonders and the beauty nature has to offer, this experience upon Westminder Bridge must have been deeply impressive. His sonett seems to be a declaration of love and its seems as if the language he knew was not enough to describe the grace of the moment. This grace, he thought, would have touched anybody (“Dull would he be of soul who could pass by”)

Wordsworth´s terminology expresses beauty and splendor (fair, majesty, bright, beautifully, sweet, mighty) and describes the harmonious atmosphere upon the bridge. City, river and houses are no longer passive things but gain human attributes:


Composed Upon Westminster Bridge Essay

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge.

Type of Work

......."Composed Upon Westminster Bridge" is a lyric poem in the form of a sonnet. In English, there are two types of sonnets, the Petrarchan and the Shakespearean, both with fourteen lines. Wordsworth's poem is a Petrarchan sonnet, developed by the Italian poet Petrarch (1304-1374), a Roman Catholic priest. A Petrarchan sonnet consists of an eight-line stanza (octave) and a six-line stanza (sestet). The first stanza presents a theme or problem, and the second stanza develops the theme or suggests a solution to the problem. The rhyme of a Petrarchan sonnet is discussed under Rhyme Scheme and Meter, below.

Theme: Seeing the City in a New Light


.......The most striking figure of speech in the poem is personification. It dresses the city in a garment and gives it a heart, makes the sun "in his first splendour" a benefactor, and bestows on the river a will of its own. .......Examples of other figures of speech in the poem are as follows:

Line 2, alliteration: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by Line 3, alliteration: A sight so touching in its majesty Lines 4, 5 simile: This City now doth like a garment wear / The beauty of the morning: silent bare (comparison of beauty to a garment) Line 13: metaphor: Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; (comparison of houses to a creature that sleeps)


The sonnet "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge" written by William Wordsworth reflects on the poet's love of nature, and describes the magnificent sun rise over London. His thoughts and feelings are displayed in the form of a Petrarchan sonnet, with the "abba abba cdc dcd" rhyme scheme, and the eight-lined octave which sets the scenario of the poem, and the six-lined sestet which respondes and contains a bit of his opinion. Through this form, we are able to grasp its message more effectively as the content is more compact in the limitations of the rules of the sonnet, and the theme is therefore more intense. By using the Petrarchan rhyming pattern, the poet is able to emphasize his feelings of love and beauty for that morning.

In the octave of the poem, the scene, London, is established and described. "Earth has not anything to show more fair", the first line, starts the poem off unexpectedly with great exaggeration. This hyperbole emphasizes the depth of Wordsworth's feelings. The next line begins with the word "dull" which uses syntax, as the poet created an odd rearrangement of words in...

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