Comparing and Contrasting Poems

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Alima Ali (English Lit Coursework)

Date: 2nd February 2008


‘Composed on Westminster Bridge’ is a nineteenth century poem written by William Wordsworth in which he describes his view of London in the present tense. In this poem, Wordsworth is standing in the early hours of the morning, on Westminster Bridge, over looking and describing the ‘charm’ of London. He does this by using his own personal thoughts and feelings. He glorifies the quietness of the morning. In the poem, he describes the morning in London to be ‘silent’ and ‘bare’:

 “The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,” (Line 5)

‘London Snow’ was written by Robert Bridges in the twentieth century. This poem is also set in the heart of London and like ‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge’; it also acknowledges the stillness and the enchantment of the city, and comments on the men’s reaction to the snow:

“The daily thoughts of labour and sorrow slumber. At the sight of the beauty that greets them, for the charm they have broken’ (Line 36- 37)

However, both poems refer to the City in two different ways. Bridges approaches it, by describing how the snow covers the bleakness into whiteness.

“In large white flakes, falling on the city brown, stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying” (Lines 2-3)

‘Composed on Westminster Bridge’ takes another approach, as Wordsworth expresses the attraction of the morning:

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“This City now doth like a garment wear the beauty of the morning; silent, bare” (Lines 4-5)

In both poems, William Wordsworth and Robert Bridges use images to help express the view of the city. They mention what they are able to see around them. For instance, in ‘Composed on Westminster Bridge’, William Wordsworth describes the sights that he can see before him:

“Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie (Line 6)

And in ‘London Snow’, Robert Bridges, acknowledges St Paul’s Cathedral:

“Standing by Paul’s high dome, spread forth below, His sparkling beams, and awoke the stir of the ...

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