Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802
SEAMUS HEANEY ON WILLIAM WORDSWORTH’S ONE BIG TRUTH-AN INDISPENSABLE FIGURE IN THE EVOLUTION OF MODERN WRITING
Literary Hub –August 30, 2016
As a child, William Wordsworth imagined he heard the moorlands breathing down his neck; he rowed in panic when he thought a cliff was pursuing him across moonlit water; and once, when he found himself on the hills east of Penrith Beacon, beside a gibbet where a murderer had been executed, the place and its associations were enough to send him fleeing in terror to the beacon summit.
Every childhood has its share of such uncanny moments. Nowadays, however, it is easy to underestimate the originality and confidence of a writer who came to consciousness in the far from child-centred eighteenth century and then managed to force a way through its literary conventions and its established modes of understanding: by intuition and introspection he recognized that such moments were not only the foundation of his sensibility, but the clue to his fulfilled identity.