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:
- Quote paper
- M.A. Nicole Gast (Author), 2005, William Wordsworth: Lines composed upon Westminster Bridge, Sept.3, 1802, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/49817