Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Upon Westminster Bridge

Do you prefer the stillness of nature in a village or the rush-hour traffic of city life? Most people love the village life. Was the great Romantic poet William Wordsworth an exception? Known as the High Priest of Nature, he loved the scenic beauty of the Lake District and celebrated scenes from rustic life. Then how could he write a poem on a scene from city life- a poem on Westminster Bridge situated in the heart of London city? You are not the only person to be surprised. Wordsworth himself was astonished at the sight of the quiet London city one early morning in September 1802. He was traveling with his sister Dorothy across Westminster Bridge on their way to France. It was between five o’clock and six o’clock in the morning. As opposed to usual, the city was silent and deserted. He realized to his own amazement that the noisy city he disliked was also a part of Nature than the face of commerce it was during the day.

In the morning sun, the poet found the city to be the most beautiful sight on earth. Only a dull person will fail to appreciate the calmness inspired by the quiet city basking in the morning sun. The landmarks of the city looked silent and bare without the rush of life across the streets. The river Thames looked as if driven by an inner force than the noisy place of commerce during the day. Yet was the city really asleep? No, the mighty heart – the capital of the most powerful nation in the world at that time and its people – will wake up soon.

This sonnet “Upon Westminster Bridge” is a passionate expression of Wordsworth’s love of Nature and his ecstatic astonishment at the peacefulness of London city early morning.

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