Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 Questions and Answers
by William Wordsworth

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In William Wordsworth's poem "Composed upon Westminster Bridge," how does the speaker sense the "mighty heart" of London by viewing, from a Romantic perspective, the landscape of the city?

In "Composed upon Westminster Bridge," the speaker senses that the "mighty heart" of London is "lying still," as he views the city in the early morning light before it awakens. This is a Romantic treatment of the scene because the speaker shows London to be lovely in its still serenity, expresses a deep emotional response to the scene, and uses imagery that connects the city to the natural world.

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In this poem, Wordsworth's speaker stands on Westminster Bridge in the very early morning and views London. What strikes them most profoundly is the stillness and serenity of the city spread out in the sunrise. Unlike later in the day, when it will be full of traffic, crowds, and activity, right now London is lovely in its quiet. The speaker says, filled with emotion,

Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

The "mighty heart" of the city, they go on to say, is "lying still."

Romanticism, unlike realism, endeavors to show the world in a positive light. This poem is a Romantic treatment of London because it depicts the city at a lovely moment. Beneath the dirt, crime, and poverty of the city is a beautiful, calm heart, a soul in repose.

The treatment is Romantic, too, because the speaker responds emotionally to the early morning scene laid out before them as they view it in the hazy glow from the bridge. The exclamation mark in the quote above testifies to the speaker's heart being...

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