Study Guide

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 What's Up With the Title?

By William Wordsworth

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What's Up With the Title?

The title tells us nothing about the poem except where and when it was written, and even that date is inaccurate. Most scholars agree that the poem was written on July 31, 1802, not on September 3. That Wordsworth mistook the date when he published the poem some five years later tells us that it most likely did not have a title to begin with, or that its original title was just meant to be temporary. The published title makes the poem almost sound like a journal entry, which is appropriate, because the poem is a spontaneous record of passing experience. We've also seen it called, "Written on the roof of a coach, on my way to France," which sounds even more spontaneous. But usually you'll see it presented as either "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge" or "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802."

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