In "Composed upon Westminster Bridge," what is the significance of the exclamation at the end of the poem?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Certainly the ending of the poem is remarkable for the exclamation that seems to escape the mouth of the speaker involuntarily:

Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;

And all that mighty heart is lying still!

Note how these final lines are significant because they emphasise what seems to impress the speaker most about this view of London: the city's calmness and tranquillity. In these lines, Wordsworth uses personification to compare the houses to sleeping creatures, emphasising the lack of movement and peacefulness of the view. Let us not ignore either that the poem ends on a paradox. A heart can't be both alive and still at the same time, and yet the "mighty heart" of London, that throbs with such action and movement at the best of times, from the speaker's vantage point appears to be "still," emphasising the tranquil and peaceful mood that dominates the poem.

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