November 22, 2017
Wordsworth's "Westminster Bridge"On this day in 1802, William Wordsworth completed the sonnet, "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge," one of his best known short poems. The actual moment on the bridge had come a month earlier, and been described this way in notes made by Wordsworth's sister, Dorothy, at the time:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty;
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theaters, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendor, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!
The revelation of Wordsworth's illegitimate child to the literary world was not made until 1921, through the scholarship of Princeton's George McLean Harper. The news created quite a stir among the professors, but judging by the Faculty Song composed that year by the seniors, the kids took it in stride:
The red-hot dope on dear Annette,
And there performed a deed of note,
Revealing Wordsworth's one wild oat.
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