On the 3rd September 1802 William Wordsworth, aged 32 years, completed his sonnet ‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge.’
The double meaning of composed is particularly poignant.
Composed as a verb means to make up, to put together, to form and to construct…
Wordsworth has ‘fashioned’ this poem upon Westminster Bridge.
Composed the adjective means serene, relaxed, poised, tranquil and sedate…
Wordsworth is ‘calm’ upon Westminster Bridge.
It’s an incredibly evocative poem, deep, beautiful, fulfilling, tender and expansive…capturing emotion, sensation, imagery and creative description.
‘Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty…’ WW
Let us also not forget Dorothy, the diary-keeping sister of Wordsworth, who wrote a very vivid journal (The Grasmere Journal) and from which he would have found an extra source of stimulation. She scribbled these notes as the Dover coach pulled out at Charing Cross…
“The houses were not overhung by their cloud of smoke and they were spread out endlessly, yet the sun shone so brightly with such pure light that there was even something like the purity of one of nature’s own good spectacles.” DW
The last three lines of the sonnet read:
‘The river glideth at its own sweet will:
Dear God! The very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!’