The setting is London as seen from Westminster Bridge, which connects the south bank of the Thames River with Westminster on the north bank.
Westminster, called an inner borough, is now part of London. Wordsworth's inspiration for the poem was the view he beheld from Westminster Bridge on the morning of July 31, , when most of the residents were still in bed and the factories had not yet stoked their fires and polluted the air with smoke. He and his sister, Dorothy, were crossing the bridge in a coach taking them to a boat for a trip across the English Channel to France.
Composed upon Westminster Bridge: differentiated comprehension questions
In her diary, Dorothy wrote:. London during the workday was rude and dirty. A walk across a bridge or through streets and alleyways confronted the pedestrian with smoke, dust, grimy urchins, clacking carts, ringing hammers, barking dogs, jostling shoppers, smelly fish, rotting fruit. But at dawn on a cloudless morning, when London was still asleep and the fires of factories had yet to be stoked, the city joined with nature to present the early riser a tableau of glistening waters, majestic towers, unpeopled boats on the River Thames--bobbing and swaying--and the glory of empty, silent streets.
The message here is that even an ugly, quacking duckling can become a lovely, soundless swan. Rhyme Scheme and Meter.
On William Wordsworth's "Composed upon Westminster Bridge" - potubune.gq
The rhyme scheme of "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge" and other Petrarchan sonnets is as follows: 1 first stanza octave : abba, abba; 2 second stanza sestet : cd, cd, cd or another combination, such as cde, cde ; cdc, cdc ; or cde, dce. The meter of the poem is iambic pentameter , with ten syllables five iambic feet per line. An iambic foot consists of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. The first two lines of the poem demonstrate the metric pattern:.
Earth has not anything to show more fair: b Dull would he be of soul who could pass by b A sight so touching in its majesty: a This City now doth like a garment wear a The beauty of the morning: silent, bare, b Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie b Open unto the fields, and to the sky, a All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. Never did sun more beautifully steep d In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill; c Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will: c Imaginatively, he impresses a morning of beauty and purity, with the clear, intense light that you can only get on a summers morning — even in a city. Wordsworth uses personification in this way at other times in the poem, all with a will to breathe life into his words. The very houses seem asleep. Wordsworth uses a number of similar references to the natural world in this poem, notably: river, sun, fields, sky, valley, rock, hill and Earth.
An open field, or an open sky, holds an abundance of natural life. By referring it to the natural world, he is imbuing life into his vision. Both lines as shown convey life through personification, but they both also strongly represent the idea of liberty. In the first line, the reader is left with an imagery of a meandering river winding its way through green meadows, lined with willow edged banks. A scene of the open country, not one of the constrained city.
In the second line, liberty is conveyed through the impression of an open vista of fields, stretching into the hazed distance and meeting the immensity of the sky. By using words to convey an imagery of liberty, Wordsworth infuses the spirit of freedom into his words. In fact, the entire structure of the poem as a fourteen line sonnet allows the words, sound and meaning to flow freely throughout. The iambic pentameter of the poem gives an ordered rhythm and repeated sound which flows through the poem. This conveys a sense of freedom as the sound moves from one line to the next, ebbing and flowing like a river.
This also allows the sound of the poem, when read aloud, to impress an imagined babbling brook; conjuring numerous words which can be used to describe the sound of the poem from airy, gentle, soft, flowing and calm.
One other element Wordsworth uses to convey a London of liberty is the use of enjambment, where the punctuation used allows the poem to be read in a flowing manner. The reader continues from one line to the next, with no pause, which gives a sense of fluidity and movement. Other ways Wordsworth uses sound to convey light, life and liberty are in his use of polysyllables throughout the poem. By using polysyllables, Wordsworth is using the sound of these words to match the required 10 syllables for each line in order to produce the fourteen line sonnet; but, the words used are important as they can also convey life, light and liberty.
It is through the use of assonance of these long vowel sounds that Wordsworth also portrays, light, life and, most of all, liberty in his poem. The assonance draws the reader onward and gives a quiet, calm, gentle and flowing sound to the overall composition. He does this through a number of means: imagery of words or phrases; use of assonance and soft phoneme sounds; enjambment, by allowing the poem to flow freely; personification of the sun, river and city itself; the sound and the rhythm of the poem; alliteration and the use of sibilance to encourage the rhythm and sound of the poem to freely flow.
By these means, Composed Upon Westminster Bridge clearly conveys a London imbued with light, life and liberty. Composed upon Westminster Bridge.
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