The poem was penned as a Petrarchan sonnet. It can be classified under his Momentary Poems as it is born out of a specific moment. In the poem, London is apostrophized as a fair lady, and the sonnet is dedicated to her magnificence. The earth has not “to show" anything more fair. The phrase ‘to show’ has the meaning ‘to showcase’. Besides, it also possesses the meaning ‘to boast of’. The aesthetic nature of the same is so captivating that even an ordinary being could not pass untouched by the same; unless he was ‘dull’. For, even those without any inherent taste for beauty could fathom this opulence. The sight is not only beautiful but also majestic. It is not only aesthetically inspiring, but emotionally ‘touching.’
"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."
It is royalty personified as the city wears a garment of the beauty of the morning. Cleanth Brooks enumerates the paradoxes in the poem in his essay “The Language of Paradox".
The organic beauty of Nature is foregrounded in a commercial city. The city wears a garment, yet it is bare. The garment seems to come across as pure as its birthday suit, since it described as ‘silent, bare’. The poet may also signify the situation of the city at dawn: bare of the populace and signs of industrialization that mar the serenity of the city. All the landmarks of civilization lie within its domain, “Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples." All these signify different aspects respectively: transportation, infrastructure, monuments, culture and religion. The city of London is depicted in all three dimensions as it traverses ‘the fields’, the ‘sky’ ,and as it shimmers through ‘the smokeless air’.