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Compare and contrast Blake's 'London' to Wordsworth 'composed upon Westminster Bridge'.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast Blake's 'London' to Wordsworth 'composed upon Westminster Bridge'. Both these poems were written at around the turn of the 19th century, in Georgian times, to illustrate the authors' views on the City of London. At this time, the industrial revolution was underway and there was vast growth in the population, due to medical advances and people having more children. In my opinion, they are both mocking the City and its inhabitants. Both Poems use their structure to emphasise the words in them. William Blake's 'London' is written in four, four line stanzas. Each line of each verse has the same number of syllables; this creates a regimented, almost mechanical effect. It uses alternate line rhyming to make the poem sound regular. This system also emphasises the last word of each line. Each verse of the Blake poem attacks a different aspect of London. It is clear that Blake found London a very corrupt and immoral place, providing a very bleak picture of the city. ...read more.

Middle

Chartered can be interpreted to mean responsibility of the church or state or licensed; on the other side of the coin it can be use to mean licentious and freely immoral. Taken in context with the rest of the poem I consider it to mean freely immoral as further on in the poem he alludes to prostitution, and other such corrupt activities. According to traditional reading the picture of London we see in Wordsworth's poem is an exaggerated tribute to the beauty of London. It uses imagery and praises both nature and mans achievements. It immediately sets out how the author feels in the first line saying 'Dull would he be of soul who could pass by, a sight so touching in its majesty.' Inferring that the sight of London would evoke strong views in everyone who sees it. It is left up to the reader to decide whether this is a compliment or a criticism. Wordsworth's most famous works allude to the beauty of his beloved lake district. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Wordsworth poem is slightly less melodramatic in its outlook as it merely describes London at one moment in the morning. It has nothing in it that could be interpreted as relating to London's people or what the future holds for them. The Wordsworth poem is made more charged in the penultimate line where he says 'Dear God! The very houses seem asleep;' He is so overwhelmed by the tranquillity of London that he feels the need to invoke gods name. In contrast nowhere in the Blake poem does he use direct speech to heighten any of the emotions. Both these poems, in my opinion, share feelings of concern and disgust for London. If I had to pick which one I preferred I would choose the Blake poem. This is because the meaning of the words is more clear-cut. I accept that the point of the Wordsworth poem may be to leave it up to the reader to decide whether or not the poem is sarcastic or not. But I don't consider this device to be particularly effective; thought irritating maybe but not effective. The Blake poem is also more emotional and melodramatic. Stephanie Mckeown Poetry essay Dr. collier ...read more.

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