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Compare and contrast London by William Blake and Composed upon Westminster Bridge bt William Wordsworth discussing both the content and language of the two poems.

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Introduction

COMPARE AND CONTRAST "LONDON" BY WILLIAM BLAKE AND "COMPOSED UPON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH, DISCUSSING BOTH THE CONTENT AND THE LANGUAGE OF THE TWO POEMS. The Revolution in France coincided with the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution of England. During this period the rich became richer, the poor became even poorer, and major towns or cities became over crowded. The thoughts and feelings of the people living throughout the country at this time, often were expressed in poetic form. Two such poems set around the same time and both set in London are "London", by William Blake and William Wordsworth's "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge." "London" is written nine years before "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge", and tells of the suffering of the people of London. A uniform and exact feeling is sensed in the opening two lines of the poem, as both streets and the Thames are described as being "chartered" and something which is chartered is very exact and has a definite and set outline. The next two lines ending the first stanza tell of weakness and woe in every face Blake meets, meaning there is sadness and regret along with vulnerability sensed by him as he passes people along his journey. ...read more.

Middle

Overall Blake takes a negative and strict viewing point of London which echoes the great suffering of the day. Another poem, set in London and written just nine years after "London" offers a contrasting tone to Blake's. It is William Wordsworth's "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge". "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge" is a similar poem to "London" as the poet is the one travelling through the London it describes, yet the poems contrast greatly. Wordsworth opens with an emphatic statement, praising London as he says it surpasses anything on the earth. In the second and third line Wordsworth makes the statement: "Dull would he be of soul who could pass by/A sight so touching in its majesty:" which means one would have to be 'dead inside' if he/she couldn't appreciate such beauty. The fact that Wordsworth uses the word "majesty" offers a regal sense, a regal beauty - giving us the idea of just how grand and magnificent this city actually is. This contrasts well with the disease ridden city described by Blake, using such words as plague and blight, giving the city an altogether unsettling atmosphere. In the fourth line Wordsworth starts out by giving the word "City" a capital letter, which stresses just how important the city actually is. ...read more.

Conclusion

Suggesting to us the restraints put upon Nature, immobilising it from flourishing due to man's greed for industry and money. Wordsworth ends his poem exclaiming that it is so quiet and tranquil that even the houses "seem asleep". The last line of the poem sets up London as being the 'heart' of Great Britain, London is the thing which enables Great Britain to work correctly: "And all that mighty heart is lying still." We really sense Wordsworth's surprise at finding this essential life force so still and at rest. This is the complete opposite to Blake's bustling, overcrowded and disease ridden city. The nights are filled with young "harlot's" swearing at screaming babies, while they're out trying to earn a bit of money from sell in themselves for sex while. And all the time aiding to the destruction of society due to the spreading of disease. On the whole, undoubtedly my favourite poem is William Blake's "London". I feel Blake's poem far surpasses Wordsworth's as Blake offers to us a more realistic and altogether poignant atmosphere to Wordsworth's happy and "perfect" city. I feel that his use of language and style of writing expresses well the perception of London during the course of industrialisation as being an overpopulated and disease ridden "hell". ...read more.

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