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A Comparison of 'London' and 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge'

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Introduction

A Comparison of 'London' and 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge' The poems 'London' by William Blake and 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge' written by William Wordsworth both explore the city of London although the two poems portray the city differently. The poem 'London' describes the depth of London from the backstreet alleys to the palaces and churches. This poem I feel was written in order to highlight the hardships in London. The poem 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge' is a petrachan sonnet and as is with most sonnets is written in celebration. Wordsworth has written this poem in celebration of London. The title has a double meaning; 'composed' as in written by and composed as in 'calm' which is much like the poem of itself. Wordsworth was obviously in awe of London, because he is admiring everything around him. He has centred his poem on the success and beauty of the city, whereas William Blake's poem describes the horrid and dirty scenes that are to be seen in London. Blake's poem has a set rhyme scheme of a b a b and 16 lines with eight syllables in each. ...read more.

Middle

This metaphor could also suggest the evil of war. The last two stanzas' of the poem is more of a study of people who suffer to create London's success; people like the 'hapless soldier', 'harlot' and the 'new born infant'. Blake is implying that the city is ashamed of these people, as he describes the government and church as being 'blackening'. This is in deep contrast to the purity that the church and monarchy are seen to have. He condemns the government and royal family by saying 'Runs in blood down palace walls'. This emphasises the hypocrisy of London's most revered. The 'Youthful harlot' plays a very large part in the final stanza of the poem. The youthfulness of the prostitute reflects the life for the poor in London at the time. The 'Harlot's curse' is the sexually transmitted diseases which she has and will spread. The 'new-born infants tear' is the crying of, either the prostitute's illegitimate child who is not properly cared for, or the child which has no parents due to the diseases which have killed them, caused by the prostitutes. This child is also likely to be affected by the disease. ...read more.

Conclusion

The poet's love of nature is evident in this poem and it shows London to be a beautiful place. This is an optimistic poem; it is almost surreal and dreamlike. It makes the reader feel as if they are in some sort of fantasy. This helps to create a whimsical and happy mood. It is the tone and mood of Wordsworth's poem that distinguishes it from Blake's because although they both write about London their views are very different. Personally I would have to say that I prefer William Blake's Poem 'London' as I feel that it is more effective in describing London because at the time this poem was written London was actually like that. We must also remember that William Blake actually grew up in London so he might be more able to give an adequate description of London. It could be that Wordsworth's love of nature might actually make him gloss over the less desirable parts of London. There are many more contrasts than comparisons in the two poems and this is obvious as they have different views of London. I find this amazing as the poems were written around the same era, the beginning of the 19th Century. Sarah.Y.Kargbo 1 ...read more.

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