Poems are forms of expression which are used to let out feelings and thoughts about particular subjects. The poems Composed upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth and Sonnet LXXV by William Shakespeare express different thoughts and feelings about certain subjects. In Composed upon Westminster Bridge, the sonnet focuses on natural beauty, with the poet describing his beautiful encounter with nature and the pivotal role that nature plays in a human’s life. Sonnet LXXV is a praise of a loved one and the poet expressed that he is completely pleasured in his beloved’s presence. These two poems present specific feelings and thoughts on particular subjects, with one focusing on nature’s beauty and another on love. The paper compares and contrasts the two poems, with an emphasis on structure, figurative language, and tone and theme.
Both the poems are sonnets; however, Sonnet LXXV is a Shakespearean sonnet while Composed upon Westminster Bridge is a Petrarchan or Italian sonnet. Like a Shakespearean sonnet, Sonnet LXXV is a single stanza sonnet with three quatrains and a concluding couplet. It means that the sonnet has sets of four lines and a set of two rhyming lines. Also, the sonnet has a consistent rhyme scheme with the ABAB CDCD EFEF GG pattern. As a poem written in iambic pentameter, each of its lines has five sets of two beats, usually referred to as metrical feet. On the other hand, Composed upon Westminster Bridge is a Petrarchan sonnet with the octave and the sestet. It means that the first eight lines of the poem act as the observation and the last six act as the conclusion. The poem makes a turn on the ninth line to elaborate on the subject discussed in the first eight lines. The poem’s rhyme scheme differs from that of Sonnet LXXV, as it is ABBAABBA CDCDCD.
Both poems utilize figurative language to create comparisons; however, some choices of figurate language used are different in each of the poems. Both poems use simile and enjambment. For instance, Sonnet LXXV uses simile, alliteration, sibilance, and enjambment. A similar is a form of comparison of unlike things with words as or like. In this poem, simile is used in the first quatrain whereby the poet compares himself and a miser. Also, the poem uses alliteration in the tenth line with the words “possessing” and “pursuing.” Sibilance is used in the production of prolonged rushing or hissing sounds. The poet uses it in line two with the words “sweet-season’d showers” (Shakespeare’s Sonnets). The poem also utilizes enjambment, which involves cutting a line before its natural stopping point. It is used between lines five and six and lines three and four. On the other hand, the poem Composed upon Westminster Bridge uses simile, enjambment, imagery, and hyperbole. Simile is used in line four to compare the city to a garment and this can be identified through the use of the word “like.” Also, the poem uses enjambment in lines two, four, six, and nine. It can be identified through the lack of punctuation, which makes a reader continue to the next line without stopping. Also, imagery is used in the poem in the fourth and twelfth lines. In the fourth line, a reader is made to perceive the flow of the river through their five senses. In the twelfth line, a reader is made to perceive the river through the five senses (Wordsworth). Also, the poem uses hyperbole, which is exaggerating something for emphasis’s sake. In particular, the poet uses hyperbole in describing the beauty of the city in the first opening lines.
Both the poems have the same tone, which involves being emotional and exaggerated; however, they have different themes, with Sonnet LXXV’s them being of love while Composed upon Westminster Bridge’s theme is of the beauty of the city. Both poems rely on exaggeration and emotion to help convey their respective themes. For Sonnet LXXV, an emotional and exaggerated tone is used to convey the theme of love. The poet relies on the tone of expressing how he feels about the subject being described in the poem. In Composed upon Westminster Bridge, the poet relies on an exaggerated and emotional tone to describe the beauty of the city. He speaks of how he adores the glories of nature and feels pity for those that have missed such a delight (Wordsworth). The tone allows the poet to express his attitude toward the special atmosphere associated with nature.
In conclusion, the two poems have certain similarities and differences regarding their structure, use of figurative language, and tone and theme. In particular, the two poems exists as sonnets; however, one is a Shakespearean sonnet while another is a Petrarchan sonnet. Both poems utilize figurative language to help compare various aspects, with some of those being used by both of them including simile and enjambment. The two poems rely on the same tone, which is an exaggerated and emotional tone; however, they have different themes, with Shakespeare’s poem focusing on love, while Wordsworth focuses on the beauty of the city.
Shakespeare’s Sonnets. “Sonnet LXXV.” Shakespeare’s Sonnets, n.d. http://www.shakespeares-sonnets.com/sonnet/75
Wordsworth, William. “Composed upon Westminster Bridge.” Poetry Foundation, n.d. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45514/composed-upon-westminster-bridge-september-3-1802