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Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802

by William Wordsworth

Things as People

Symbol Analysis

Wordsworth uses personification in several places in the poem, in reference to the city, sun, river, and houses. He creates the impression that nature is a living being with a soul. It's as if all these forces have decided to come together to treat the speaker to a "One Morning Only!" show of Nature's Greatest Marvels.

  • Line 4: The morning beauty is compared to clothing, a "garment," in a simile. Only people can wear clothing (OK, dogs can wear sweaters, too, but those are strangely disconcerting), so London must be personified.
  • Line 10: "His first splendour" is a roundabout way of talking about the sunrise. The sun is personified as a male.
  • Line 12: The river is personified as a person who likes to take things at his own pace. He's like the person in front of you at the supermarket who's going to spend 10 minutes at the cash register and there's nothing you can do about it.
  • Line 13: The houses are personified as sleeping people because the city is quiet and still. In reality, the people inside the houses are the ones who are asleep.
  • Line 14: The city is personified as a person with a heart. The heart is "lying still," perhaps because the city, like its houses, is asleep.

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