Sonnet: Composed Upon Westminister Bridge by William Wordsworth

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This poem is all about the poets epiphany-like realisation about London’s beauty while crossing Westminster bridge. He opens the poem with a hyperbole, designed to grab the attention of the reader. He continues this with almost an accusation: “Dull would he be of soul who could pass by”. This is basically challenging the reader to read on, as he or she would be ‘dull of soul’. In the next line, the word “now” shows that it is not just this place, but this time that adds to the atmosphere. This is supported where Wordsworth describes the beauty of the morning as a garment that the city wears. This shows that the city is not always this beautiful, but with the morning being ‘worn’ it is. The next two lines show that the beauty is added to both by human creations and by nature, in a serene confluence that astounds Wordsworth. The volta (transition between octave and sestet) is subtle, but the sestet starts with another hyperbolic statement: “Never did sun more beautifully steep”. In the third line of the sestet, he describes that the atmosphere is making him feel “a calm so deep”. This is counter-intuitive, as London is a busy, bustling, and hectic place. The fact that it is calm emphasises that it is the time more than the place which creates the feeling. In the fourth line, Wordsworth writes “the river glideth at his own sweet will”. The word ‘glide’ implies that the river is taking its time- it is in no rush. Also, he uses of the word “glideth” instead of ‘glide’ because the ‘-th’ sound is softer then the ‘-s’ sound, adding to the mood of calm. The poet ends saying that the city is so unusually calm and quiet, and that at this time all of the energy and madness of city life is not yet there- and he loves it.
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