Monday, 23 May 2011

Upon Westminster Bridge

This week's poem (I feel justified in calling it "this week's", as I seem to be getting back into my stride with this anthology strand) is Upon Westminster Bridge by Wordsworth. 

Composed on the 3rd of September 1802, his view would have been from the original Westminster Bridge which was of stone - shown here in a 1746 picture by Canaletto - rather than the 1862 bridge which stands to this day.

Upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth

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! 

Although the city may have changed and expanded since 1802, these pictures capture something of the "beauty of the morning, silent, bare" that Wordsworth describes. 


1 comment:

Raybeard said...

A couple of years ago a German friend who teaches English and Russian in Munich asked me to recommend an English poem which he could present to his English Language class. This is the one I chose. A fine poem - concise and clear.