Russ Ralph and I spend a day in London searching for Percy. We move from Tooting Bec down Church Lane to Tooting Broadway then on to Elephant and Castle, The Imperial War Museum. From here we take a bus to Whitehall meeting a scaffolded and silent Big Ben. As we cross Westminster bridge, Wordsworth’s words rise behind my eyes:
Earth has not anything to show more fair:
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, theatres, 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 splendour, 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!
Composed upon Westminster Bridge
September 3, 1802