‘Choose two poems in which the poets celebrate scenes. What is celebrated in each poem and how do the poets use form, structure and language to express what makes the place special.’
The two poems I am going to look at are ‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge’ and ‘In Romney Marsh’ in which both poets express their love of the place through the poem.
We know that the poet wants to celebrate Romney Marsh because of the way the poet is written. The poet is written in the first person, which means that the poet is showing that he is talking from experience so as to give the reader a sense of reality. The sense of reality is also emphasised by the ballad being very similar to an almost circular journey, the end of the poem is a repetition of the beginning: ‘The wire…’ is repeated, and ‘Pealed’ and roared are repeated as well.
John Davidson is expressing his love of Romney Marsh through rhyme, rhythm, sound, colour and language. To begin, Davidson uses personification to show Romney Marsh as a place rich in beauty: ‘A veil of purple vapour…’, ‘air like sapphire…’, ‘…all diamond drops.’, ‘…silver fire’. These all express the writer’s love of the place and how he finds it as beautiful as normal people would find a royal monarch. Davidson also expresses how he finds Romney Marsh a colourful and bright place by using words like ‘…yellow sunlight…’, ‘…purple vapour…’ and ‘…crimson brands…’. The writer also expresses how bright he finds the place by the fact that even in the evening the place still shows colour and he uses an oxymoron at the same time to particularly emphasise the brightness: ‘The darkly shining salt sea drops,’.
The poem is like a lively song meant to celebrate Romney Marsh on a day full of noise (produced by waves, wind and telegraph wires). So the poet also uses a language of sound as well as colour in his poem and towards the end we see how the scene is personified as a cathedral with its ‘…organ stops…’ and ‘Pealing again, prolonged the roar.’, the prolonged roar representing the choir and there is also a repetition of peal in line 14: ‘waves pealed on the shore,’ and a repetition of the ‘prolonged roar…’, which gives emphasis on the liveliness of the place and the repetition emphasises it even more.
Davidson expresses the harmony between by using a repetition of shrill in line 23 so both technology and nature are doing the same thing, they are harmonised: ‘Shrill blew the wind and shrill the wire,’. Davidson uses a very simple rhythm pattern in the poem ‘In Romney Marsh’: every second syllable is emphasised apart from in line 17 where it seems Davidson wanted to express an even greater emphasis of Romney Marshes’ beautiful sunset: ‘And roses filled Heaven’s central gates.’
The writer also has a very simple rhyme pattern (A, B, A, B, A, B etc). This pattern, along with the rhythm scheme, expresses how Davidson sees the whole place in unity.
The poet celebrates the poem in a very lively way and the scene seems harmonious as every type of feature is in harmony with the rest: walls and buildings, technology, land and sea and sky, nature, sights and sounds.
The next poem is a sonnet. The word derives from sonetto, Italian for little song, so it is quite similar to ‘In Romney Marsh’. This sonnet has 14 lines and a regular complex rhyme pattern (A, B, B, A, A, B, B, A, C, D, C, D, C, D). Sonnets usually express love for a person but Wordsworth uses the sonnet form to express love for an admired city, Westminster.
Wordsworth celebrates his landscape in a slightly different way to Davidson but he still uses things like personification. Wordsworth’s poem uses personification to show the city as a royal monarch as well as Davidson: ‘A sight so touching in its majesty,’, ‘This city now doth like a garment wear,’. He also personifies the river as a person: ‘The river glideth of its own sweet will,’ and also the whole landscape as a person: ‘And all that mighty heart is lying still!’.
Wordsworth, however, does not use a language of sound but he very much uses a language of colour, although the peacefulness of the scene is represented by words like ‘silent’ and ;bare’ and ‘smokeless sky’ and ‘…a calm so deep’. In line 2 he uses the word ‘dull’ with the word ‘soul’ which to most people would be very offensive so he uses colour to show that not many people would avert their eyes from such a marvellous scene.
Wordsworth, like Davidson, creates a harmony between all things technological and natural. There is the ‘ships, towers, domes, theatres, temples…’ and the ‘fields’, ‘sky’, ‘valley’, ‘rock’ and ‘hill’. Wordsworth also expresses a harmony in the poem by bringing himself into the poem and expressing how he felt a ‘calm so deep,’. The emphasis of how great it is, is represented in lines 9 and 11, with the repetition of never in ‘Never did…’ and ‘Ne’er saw I’. These both suggest that this is the most beautiful thin the poet has ever seen.
As I have shown both poets use language of sound, language of colour, personification, rhyme and rhythm etc. These all come together to let the poet express and celebrate their chosen landscapes.