National Poetry Day 2013

Today is National Poetry Day. Since this year’s theme is water (and since I often write about London), I thought I would share with you this sonnet by William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3rd 1802

Earth hath 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 splendor, 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’s sister Dorothy (1771-1855) was also a writer, and she kept a journal. It is this entry, recording a journey taken by the siblings through an early-morning London in July 1802, which is said to have inspired him to write this sonnet:

… we left London on Saturday morning at ½ past 5 or 6, the 31st July (I have forgot which) we mounted the Dover Coach at Charing Cross. It was a beautiful morning. The City, St Pauls, with the River & a multitude of little Boats, made a most beautiful sight as we crossed Westminster Bridge. The houses were not overhung by their cloud of smoke & they were spread out endlessly, yet the sun shone so brightly with such a pure light that there was even something like the purity of one of nature’s own grand Spectacles.

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One comment

  1. Pingback: National Poetry Day 2014 | Another Kind Of Mind

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