Study Guide

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 Contrasting Regions: City and Countryside

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Contrasting Regions: City and Countryside

Earth has not anything to show more fair: (line 1)

Hear that, Lake District? Wordsworth totally dissed you behind your back. (Lost? See "In a Nutshell.")

This City now doth, like a garment, wear (line 4)

Rather than contrasting two regions, you could see the poem as integrating two regions – the natural and the man-made. The city "wears" the pure sunlight like a shirt or jacket.

the smokeless air. (line 8)

The beauty of the city is praised for things that people usually associate with the countryside instead: pure fresh air, silence, and bright skies.

Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill; (line 9-10)

These lines are the most explicit contrast between the city and the countryside. It's hard to tell if Wordsworth actually means to say that the London sunlight is more beautiful, or whether he wants to use the beauty of the countryside, which he takes for granted, as a way to express the unique qualities of the morning.

Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep! (line 11)

The words "not" and "never" express the singular beauty of the city throughout the poem. The speaker seems taken by surprise, as if he never would have thought that London could produce a sense of calm.

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