A Reading of the Poem
The persona in this poem is reflecting on the perfection of the city. He believes that there is nothing on Earth so beautiful as the city in the morning. Only a dull person would not appreciate such a majestic sight. He is awed by the calm of the city.
The persona compares the manner in which the beauty of the morning settles over the city, to that of a garment on a body. This emphasizes the perfection of the beauty of the morning, just as a garment flows smoothly over a body.
Lines 9-10: The sun is referred to as a male who rises sharply and beautifully. This emphasizes the beauty of the city in the morning. The use of this personification also helps the reader to personalize this beauty.
Line 12: Like the sun, the river is personalized as well. This allows the reader to see the river as real, instead of a thing. It comes alive and we can visualize its movement, gliding, as beautiful.
Line 13: When someone is asleep, they are usually peaceful. Therefore, when the persona describes the houses as sleeping, he is emphasizing the peace that exists in the city in the morning. The inhabitants of the houses are asleep, therefore the houses are quiet and peaceful.
IMPORTANT WORDS/ PHRASES
The word fair, in this context, literally means beautiful. The persona is setting the stage for the reader, introducing the fact that the city is beautiful.
This word implies that the city is regal in its splendour. Therefore, it is beyond beautiful and has become stately.
This word describes the way in which the sun ascends into the sky. It is stressed that it does so in a beautiful manner.
The mood of the poem is pensive, or thoughtful. The persona is expressing his thoughts, and reaction to, the city in the morning.
The tone of the poem is one of awe.