Essay – Composed Upon Westminster Bridge

Since in class we’ve been analysing the poem «Composed Upon Westminster Bridge», our teacher Pato gave us this writing task:

Choose one of the points to talk about in the essay.

1.    Compare the attitudes of the writers towards the city in «Composed Upon Westminster Bridge» and «The City Planners» or «The Planners».

2.    Explore amazement at nature and man-made objects in «Composed Upon Westminster Bridge».


In the following essay I am going to analyze the different attitudes of the writers towards the city in the poems “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge” and “The Planners”.

On the one hand, in “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge”, William Wordsworth is amazed and delighted by the beauty of the city. He already starts the poem by saying “Earth has not anything to show more fair”. He is exaggerating a lot because in this quote, he says that the city is the most beautiful thing that the Earth has to show. He is fascinated and feels inspired by this amazing landscape. Moreover, he was very lucky because a lot of positive factors helped him feel that way, for example, he was there at dawn, “The beauty of the morning; silent, bare”, which is, in my opinion, the most calm part of the day. And this is the time when people weren’t working yet since they are still asleep. He uses personification to make reference to this in line 12 when he says: “the very houses seem asleep” meaning that since no one is awake, the houses look like their sleeping when actually, the people are the ones sleeping. Also, the weather influenced, and he describes it in line 8: “All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. Never did sun more beautifully steep” and he also is saying that the air is not polluted as the factories are still closed. Nevertheless, he doesn’t criticize nature either.

On the other hand, in “The Planners”, Boey Kim Cheng feels exactly the opposite. He feels anger and disappointment and hates the city progress and modernization because he thinks that it’s destroying nature and history. He expresses this in the first two lines of the second stanza: “They erase the flaws, the blemishes of the past”, meaning that the planners are erasing the mistakes of the past (culture). In addition to this, when he says “Anaesthisia, amnesia, hypnosis” he means that history hurts people and leaves scars that people try hard to heal, and that the planners try to silence this pain by ‘hypnotizing’ and making people forget the past, history. Also, in lines 8 and 9 he uses alliteration because he wants us to pay attention to how nature is afraid of human beings and expansion, while it should be the other way around: “Even the sea draws back and the skies surrender”. We should be scared of nature “taking revenge” with natural disasters. And what’s worse, is that he also depicts how the planners are business men that have “the means” conveying money, territory, authority, control, power.

In conclusion, both writers have very different opinions about the city because while in “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge”, the writer has a very positive attitude towards the city and is fascinated by it, in “The Planners” Cheng has a very negative and ‘bitter’ view towards it.