In its heroic phase, the city was a site of pluralism, an example of the uses of diversity. It was in such a period that Dr Johnson could observe that when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life. The celebration of urbanity was not confined to cities – even the greatest of all Lake Poets could join in:
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!‘Sonnet: Composed upon Westminster Bridge’
Wordsworth (1807) here explicitly says that no valley, rock or hill can bring out natural beauty as well as does Westminster Bridge. The city still in sleep becomes an illustration of that romantic definition of poetry which sees it as might half-slumbering on its own right arm.