Saturday, September 3, 2016

Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802

Westminster Bridge in London, England.

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!


— William Wordsworth


William Wordsworth (1770–1850) launched the Romantic Age of English literature with the publication of Lyrical Ballads in 1798. Originally published without the name of an author it was republished again in 1800 under Wordsworth's name. The only problem with that is the book was co-authored alongside his best friend, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whose most famous poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was included in Lyrical Ballads. Coleridge would get his due in 1802 when Lyrical Ballads was republished yet again. Wordsworth was Britain's poet laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850.

As for, Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802, some scholars believe that the poem was first drafted on July 31, 1802 and completed by Wordsworth on September 3, 1802. One hundred years later, Richard Le Gallienne would use Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 for the basis of his poem, Brooklyn Bridge at Dawn.