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Analysis of ‘Sonnet composed upon Westminster Bridge’ by William Wordsworth

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Analysis of 'Sonnet composed upon Westminster Bridge'

Sonnet Composed Upon Westminster Bridge By William Wordsworth

The poem describes the unpolluted city of London, as the poet sees it, in the early hours of the morning.

1) Wordsworth opens the sonnet with hyperbole, declaring that the earth has no other sight as beautiful as the one he beholds.

2) The poet believes that anyone who could see the sight that he is witnessing and pass by without being stunned by its beauty would be very dull of soul.

3) Without disclosing the fact that he is observing the city of London, he continues in the third line of the octave to say that the sight makes him very emotional due to its royalty and majesty.

4) In the fourth line of the octave Wordsworth mentions the city and immediately personifies it to be able to wear a garment.

5) He discloses that the garment he is referring to is the personified morning which is steeped in beauty and rich in silence.

6) As if out of purpose, to suddenly introduce the stereotypical image we have of the city, he moves on from describing the beauty and silence of the morning to a list of structures synonymous with activity and movement.

Analysis of 'Sonnet composed upon Westminster Bridge'

7) Wordsworth shares his disbelief at the sight of the city surrendering to the open clear sky. He mentions the sight of fields, which is unusual considering that the city of London is known more for its movement and commerical structures. He uses this as a prelude to the thought shared in sestet.

8) Wordsworth marvels at the cityscape shining like new and well lit in the unpolluted, crisp morning air.

9) He opens the sestet with a sense of disbelief and exaggeration (hyperbole) where he says that he has never seen the sun rise more beautifully.

10) He describes the sun lighting up hills, rocks and valleys, once again elements of the natural landscape that usually do not come to mind when we think of London.

11) Using anaphora (by repeating the word ‘never’) he emphasis on his belief that this sight brings him a sense of calm and peace that he has never experienced before.

12) Wordsworth also draws our attention to the fact that irrespective of whether man has the eyes or the vision to praise and glorify nature, nature carries on exhibiting its beauty and running its course. He personifies the river Thames to have a will of its own.

13) Wordsworth uses exclamation and apostrophe by addressing God directly and once again personifies the beautiful city of London by mention that the houses seem to be asleep in the early morning hours.

14) He ends the sonnet by making a direct reference to the significance of the city, by referring to it as ‘mighty heart’. Continuing to give the city human-like qualities, the city of London appears to be in a state of slumber to the poet's eyes.