Waterloo Bridge is a road and foot traffic bridge crossing the River Thames in London, between Blackfriars Bridge and Hungerford Bridge. The name of the bridge is in memory of the Anglo-Dutch and Prussian victory at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Thanks to its location at a strategic bend in the river, the views of London (Westminster, the South Bank and London Eye to the west, the City of London and Canary Wharf to the east) from the bridge are widely held to be the finest from any spot at ground level.
"The Bridge of Sighs"
is a famous poem of 1844 by Thomas Hood concerning the suicide of a homeless
young woman who threw herself from Waterloo Bridge in London.
Although Thomas Hood (1799–1845)
is usually regarded as a humorous poet, towards the end of his life, when he
was on his sick bed, he wrote a number of poems commenting on contemporary
poverty. These included "The Song of the Shirt", "The Bridge of
Sighs" and "The Song of the Labourer". "The Bridge of
Sighs" is particularly well-known because of its novel meter, complex
three syllable rhymes, varied rhyming scheme and pathetic subject matter.
The poem describes the woman as
having been immersed in the grimy water, but having been washed so that
whatever sins she may have committed are obliterated by the pathos of her
Make no deep scrutiny
Into her mutiny
Rash and undutiful:
Past all dishonour,
Death has left on her
Only the beautiful.
Several clues in the poem, which
harps upon beauty, sins and scorn, hint that the woman was pregnant and had
been thrown out of her home.
Feelings had changed:
Love, by harsh evidence,
Thrown from its eminence;
Even God's providence