Upon Westminster Bridge
Upon Westminster Bridge
Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
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.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!
SAMPLE STUDENT RESPONSE
Upon reading this poem, I felt like I was looking at a painting or a picture and someone was standing behind me, describing what I was supposed to see. Wordsworth finds himself in awe when he is looking at something that most people would not find that interesting: a silent view of the city, as seen from the Westminster Bridge. Through the speaker’s eyes and descriptive details, the readers can appreciate the true beauty of a city, as seen from this landmark.
He says that the whole Earth has not “anything to show more fair,” and that anyone who would be able to look upon this magnificent view and not be touched by its majesty would have to be a heartless person. I think Wordsworth has a higher capacity than most people to see beauty in what some people would see as just a building.
I personally don’t find architecture and I don’t think cities are very moving but for Wordsworth, this city seems to come alive, especially in the morning. In the first light of the morning, the city seems to be wearing a beautiful garment. The morning is “silent” and “bare,” and everything “lies” all “bright” and “glittering,” in the “smokeless air.” I actually read that London was awfully polluted in the past and I can assume that the speaker appreciates how clean the city looks in the morning, before all the factories start throwing smoke and polluting the air. The beauty of the surroundings has a powerful effect on the speaker, who, along with the city, feels calm, and at peace with himself and with nature.
Totally enthralled by the beauty of the moment, the speaker exclaims “Oh, God,” as the watches the very houses, which seem asleep but and the “mighty heart” of the city is lying still, soon to be awakened and start functioning again. I too can relate to this because sometimes I like to go for a run in the early morning and I like how everything still looks sleepy and the city is “still.”
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