William Wordsworth

  1. Earth has not anything to show more fair:
  2. Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
  3. A sight so touching in its majesty:
  4. This City now doth like a garment wear
  5. The beauty of the morning; silent , bare,
  6. Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
  7. Open unto the fields, and to the sky,
  8. All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
  9. Never did the sun more beautifully steep
  10. In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
  11. Ne'er saw I, never felt a calm so deep!
  12. The river glideth at his own sweet will:
  13. Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
  14. And all that mighty heart is lying still!

Dull: the city is wearing the best dress and only a dull can ignore this splendour.
Sight… silent….. bright and glittering….. smokeless: senses (sight, hearing and smell)
A sight so touching in its majesty:  The poet expresses how he finds the buildings emotive. It is the dignity of the buildings that is emotionally appealing.
doth wear=does wear - like a garment: simile. Wordsworth personifies the city using a simile.  wear: personification.
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples:  makes the list of the buildings. the ‘hierarchy’ of buildings by ending with a temple is particularly suitable as it is almost as if the poet is going up to heaven.
bright and glittering: The words ‘glittering’ and ‘bright’ emphasise how immaculate the city is. The poet focuses on the stillness of the city and the beauty of it due to the absence of pollution.
Never did the sun more beautifully steep:  On emphasising how attractive the sunlight is the poet uses this metaphor that shows how everything is immersed in sunlight as it bathes in it giving the effect that the city is glowing and radiating beauty.
Ne'er saw I, never felt a calm so deep!: first person, the poet shows us is feelings – ne’er=never
river glideth: assonance.  The River Thames is personified as a person who is in command of themselves as for once the river is in charge of its own movement. Glideth=glides
Dear God!: he exclaims with such epiphany for he is so astonished at the houses in the city.
very houses seem asleep: personification. Houses are personified as ‘asleep‘ and when somebody is sleeping they are calm and tranquil.
all that mighty heart is lying: The "mighty heart" means the rhythms of the city when its citizens are active. It’s a metaphor that shows the pulse of the fast paced life lived by those living and working in central London. The city is full of life and much like a heart it gives life.

Analisi e commento:

William Wordsworth in his poem Composed Upon Westminster Bridge relates his experience of an early morning in London. The poet is speaking with his own voice and he uses the form of a Petrarchian sonnet to give an account of what sights he witnessed in the city and then goes on to compare them with nature. He sees the natural elements which one the river, the sun, the sky, the valley, the rock and hill but also the objects that man made as the ships, the towers, the theatres, the temple and the houses. The natural elements and the objects made by the man are connected by the beauty of the city. The urban setting can be regarded as natural life because man, who made the city, is himself natural. The language is simple perhaps reflecting here the immediate and unsophisticated sense that he feels of how beautiful the London view is and the poet describes the extraordinary calm and quietness which are typical of the early morning. The tone is celebrative, serious and solemn.


This is a Petrarchian sonnet composed by 14 lines and divided in 2 quartins and 2 terzet. The rhyme scheme is ABBA ABBA CDC DCD. Each line of the poem has 10 syllables, half of them being long and heavy syllables followed by 5 short syllables. This s known as an iambic pentameter. To show his thought processes Wordsworth breaks the rhythm of the lines up with the wide use of commas.