In "Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802," how do lines 4-8 help you to form an image of the city?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In much of Wordsworth's other poetry, he celebrates the beauty of nature; not the beauty of cities and industrial centers. However, in this poem, Wordsworth marvels at the view of London from Westminster Bridge on a summer morning. 

Note that it is in the morning, prior to the busy time of day when the streets will be full of people and, certainly in the winter, prior to the time of day when chimneys will fill the sky with smoke. It is in the morning when Wordsworth finds the city in its most majestic state. 

This City now doth, like a garment, wear

The beauty of the morning; silent; bare,

Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie

Open unto the fields, and to the sky;

All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. 

This is such a different image of the city from the part of the day when it is busy and full of life. Wordsworth/the speaker marvels at this juxtaposition: calm city in morning/busy city during the day. The city wears this morning state "like a garment" which it will shed when the people wake up and go about their business. The ships and buildings, calm in the stillness of the morning, are almost like natural objects: connected/open to the nearby fields and to the sky. 

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