Both “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” (William Butler Yeats) and “Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802” (William Wordsworth) describe beautiful and peaceful scenes involving water. Yeats longs to go to the island of Innisfree in Ireland, and he thinks about what it would be like to live there. In contrast, Wordsworth describes the skyline of London as he sees it himself from a bridge that crosses the River Thames. Yeats uses his imagination to put himself into a remote place. He would be alone. Wordsworth looks at a large city in the early morning, before most people are awake. It won’t be long before the bridge will be bustling with bodies and traffic. Yeats uses more senses here than Wordsworth does. He notes the differences in light; but he also mentions the sounds of the bees and the water lapping gently. Wordsworth concentrates on the way the morning light shines on the buildings. Both poets find beauty in these places, even though they are opposites as landscapes. And both find a connection to the universe here – “the deep heart’s core” and “that mighty heart” – that they can feel pulsing beneath them. Both men are tuned in to what goes on around them, no matter where they are.
Structurally, the two poems are quite different. “Innisfree” has three stanzas that each follow an ABAB rhyme scheme. “Westminster Bridge” is a sonnet of 14 lines with a rhyme scheme of ABBAABBACDCDCD.