Poetry is an expression of a whole range of human emotions. William Wordsworth a famous nature poet wrote a magnificent sonnet appreciating the view of London city from Westminster Bridge. William uses his sense of sight and his flair of expression in the poem. The beauty of the great city of London forms inspiration of the poem. It is a descriptive poem in which a realistic picture is painted in words.
The title is of prior importance as it tells us where the poet was when he was inspired.
The proper noun ‘Westminster Bridge’ is important as it is direct and connects to the content of the poem. The poet is standing on the bridge appreciating the beauty of the city of London. An important feature to note is that the poet loved solitude and when he sees the city in the early morning devoid of its bustle and noise, he is impressed.
He begins the poem personifying Earth telling the reader that the beauty that it reflects touches everybody who sees it -‘not anything to show more fair….
‘Touching in its majesty’
Line 1-3 gives accolades of the fairness and majestic appearance of the subject, which we are unaware about. In the second line he also goes on to explain that only a ‘dull person’ would not notice this majestic beauty. The reader still seems to be unaware of the subject. It is only in the fourth line that he mentions ‘This City’ – London.
In line four and five he uses a simile, which is explained explicitly in line six and seven.
‘This city now doth like a garment wear,
The beauty of the morning : silent, bare,
Ships, towers, dooms, theatres and temples lie,
Open unto the fields, and to the sky.’
His feeling of joy has now transceded to one of awe. He vividly describes what he sees. We too experience the same arresting feeling. Though the simile may seem strange because it personifies the city wearing a garment. We also note that the solitude what has left a mark on him. He is amaze to see mans construction blend with Gods creation and yet project a wholeness of beauty.
Line eight paints a picture of a ‘bright’ and ‘glittering’ smokeless London. He is conveying an image of purity. The poem is set in 1802 when homes and offices were heated by coal and wood, as a result great palls of smoke hung continually over the city. One wonders how he sees ‘smokeless air’. The answer to this query could be probably that it is summer and hence the houses don’t require heating. We also know it is early morning.
Line nine and ten emphasize his sense of reverence reserved for the description of beauty. Although he begins the line with a negative never he uses it effectively to build a vivid image of how beautiful the sun looks as it dawns over valley, rock or hill.
His intense feeling of serenity is seen when he says
‘Ne’er saw I, ne’er felt, a calm so deep!’
He is reflecting a strong emotion of external and internal piece pieces that arises from the vision . We notice that everything has frozen in time. The only movement in the poem is of the river ‘glideth at its own sweet will.’ Besides personifying the river he also emphasizes an identity that the river seems to possess.
The last two lines express extreme awe and thrill when he addresses God directly stating that the houses seem asleep which is personification. The last line is extremely important when he uses an assonance and sates that the might heart is lying still. He could be personifying the entire hub of the city that is silent. We know since it is the early hours of morning. The usage of two exclamation marks dwells on his intense emotion and shows how moved he is by the sight.
Wordsworth’s usage of the colon is important as it introduces significant information. He generously uses semi colon to link separate clauses of his subject though we notice that his favourite punctuation is exclamation that not only reflects his emotion but also is used because he is personifying his innate subject and addressing to simultaneously.