Study Guide

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 Calling Card

By William Wordsworth

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Calling Card

Caption-Like Titles

The Romantics, a group of poets that includes Wordsworth, characteristically tried to capture the visions and emotions of momentary experiences. An interesting flip-side, though, is that these poets' titles often instead sound like the dry captions that people write on the back of photographs to remember where and when they were taken: ex., "Taken in Hawaii, 1989, during our honeymoon." Many poets throughout history have used such caption-like titles, but Wordsworth and his crew used them more than most. A quick look at his works reveals titles like "Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798," "London, 1802," and "Composed by the Sea-side, near Calais, August 1802." Sometimes his urge to give us information leads to titles that seem much longer than they need to be, like his poem titled "Left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree, which stands near the lake of Esthwaite, on a desolate part of the shore, commanding a beautiful prospect." Talk about Too Much Information!

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