Poetry is the dissection of emotion and thought, through the most
intricate and beguiling fashion. It is at the roots and heart of human
expression and has been throughout the ages.
The following slides will explore many facets of two different poems
prevalent with several different forms of imagery, unveiling the beautifully
enigmatic workings of each poet’s particular style of writing.
The setting of any piece of literature, not poetry alone, lends greatly to the contrivance of
the author. It is the element that gives much character and unique interpretations to the over-all
While both settings of the poems in question are classified as urban settings, there are
striking contrasts in the manner in which they are utilized by the author of each poem in it’s
While the setting of William Wordsmiths poem “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge”
portrays the façade of being a glittering diamond upon the brow of the earth, such that it cannot
be ignored. [Line 2] In complete opposition of this interpretation of the aforementioned setting,
T.S. Eliot’s “Prelude #1” renders a much less grand and stunning illustration, but rather a
darkling, filthy, downtrodden image. [Lines 5 through 8]
Meter, Rhythm, & Stanzas
“Composed Upon Westminster Bridge” is a rather well known sonnet; a Sonnet
meaning a poem consisting of 14-lines, often written in Iambic Pentameter.
It is in this aspect that “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge” and “Prelude #1”
differ the greatest; a complete antonym to “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge”,
“prelude #1” follows no rhyme scheme; indeed it is written in free verse. Free verse is
a form of poetry entirely revealed by it’s name: there is no definite rhyme scheme or
rhythm, making it possible for a poet to write in any fashion he or she wishes, shifting
styles through-out the poem.
It cannot be ignored that the fashion in which a poem is structured provides
greater discernment of the motivation behind the writing of the poem itself. As an
example, in “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge”, the Iambic Pentameter rhyme
scheme, being very orderly in it’s method, helps in the conveyance of the poet’s
intended message; It justifies the beauty of the cities construction. In “Prelude #1”,
the less stringent scheme hold’s a magnifying glass to the disorderly array of gloomy
emotions radiated by this poem.
Meter, Rhythm, & Stanzas (Cont.)
A third defining feature of any poem, tied to both the meter and rhyme scheme, is the type of stanza or in
some cases,stanzas, employed in the writing of the poem. A stanza is the manner in which the rhymed lines of a
poem are arranged and grouped.
In William Wordsworth’s “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge”, the rhyme scheme is as such: a, b, b, a,
a, b, b, a, cWilliamdWordsworth’s “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge”, the rhyme scheme is as such: a, b, b, a,
In ,d , c, ,c , d, [ www.gradesaver.com/]
a, b, b, a, c ,d , c, d ,c , d, and is called an Italian Sonnet [www.gradesaver.com/]. In an Italian Sonnet, the
stanzas of the poem are split into two rhyme schemes, a, b, b, a, a, b, b, a, for the first 8 lines, and c, d, c, d, c , d,
ofr the remaining 6 lines of the poem. Italian sonnets are structured perfectly for comparing two opposing items,
figures or other such things. [www.sonnets.org] In “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge”, it is well used for this
purpose exactly, elucidating how the unsullyable beauty of nature can accommodate the contrived beauty that
lies within the masonry and metallurgy openly displayed in the city of London.
Following the pattern as the rest of T.S. Eliot’s “Prelude #1”, the rather non-existent rhyme scheme and
stanza structure are unlike to that of “Composed Upon West Minster Bridge” in a variety of ways. Being a free
verse poem, “prelude #1” also lacks an easily recognizable rhyme scheme or stanza structure. Much in the
fashion of the other aspects not uncommon in free-verse poetry, this lack of rhythm is used by Eliot to further his
ends. This structure of poem is odd for Eliot, as he even stated himself that “No verse is free for the man who
wants to do a good job.” [“The Music of Poetry”, Jackson, 1942 ]
Figurative Language & Imagery
Often poetry is rife with figurative language and conjured imagery; “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge”
& “Prelude #1” are in no way excepted from this truth. Indeed, throughout the aforementioned and the latter, you
will find ideal examples of each attribute.
The first of these, easily noticed, is within the first line of the first mentioned poem, “Composed Upon
Westminster Bridge”, referring to the earth as an entity with the ability to display facets of it’s beauty, certainly an
example of personification, as are lines 4, 12, & 13, regarding their references to “The city”, “The River”, & “The
Houses” respectfully. In addition to such imagery, this poem displays examples of emblematic language, such as
the content of the second, and final lines. Other imagery that contributes to the theme of the poem includes that
on lines 6 and 8.
In “prelude #1”, imagery is the very soul of every phrase. Each line past the first two, creates an
increasing sense of fallibility, quite unlike the warm and gentle emotions emanated by “composed Upon
Westminster Bridge”. Personification is also quite prominent in “preludes #1”.
From the above analysis, it is clear to see that though these two poems are written in difference and
similarity, it is the style of the writer that gives the imagery there-in inferred, context.
Despite core similarities, such as their urban setting, it is the underlying meanings found in both poems,
that so affect understanding gleaned by the reader, and thus can convey such oppositional emotions regarding
1.) “www.Sonnets.org”: http://www.sonnets.org/basicforms.htm
2.) “www.gradesaver.com”: http://www.gradesaver.com/wordsworths-poetical-works/study-guide/section2/
3.) Essay on Poetry Reference: "The Music of Poetry“ Jackson (1 January 1942) ASIN B0032Q49RO