Lines Composed Upon Westminster Bridge
William Wordsworth, 1802
Some people, I know, want to be always near the bright lights and the busy hum of a city. I’m not one of them, but I have to confess sometimes a fascination with an old city’s myriad of streets where every kind of human activity goes on — in and around factories, schools, restaurants, theaters, parks, homes, churches with their bells ringing on Sunday morning; the liveliness is contagious. I’ve been in Florence on a calm summer evening, among a flock of people gathering around a burly fellow playing a harp on the Ponte Vecchio. I’ve walked down the parade of cherry trees along the mall in Washington. I’ve happily watched my small son scare up hundreds of pigeons in the piazza of Saint Mark’s, in Venice. Many a path through the woods I will have forgotten, but these memories will be with me all my life.
When I was a little boy in Pennsylvania, my parents gave me what was then my second favorite present ever (my favorite was my collie, Duke): it was a big fold-out map of Allentown, …
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