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Compare and contrast the poems upon Westminster bridge, by William Wordsworth and London by William Blake. Explain which one is more effective and why

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the poems 'upon Westminster bridge', by William Wordsworth and 'London' by William Blake. Explain which one is more effective and why The first poem 'upon Westminster bridge' by William Wordsworth is about his love of London as he looks out from Westminster bridge in the early morning. The poem is written in the form of a sonnet, which is appropriate given the poems main theme of his love for London. He has cleverly structured the poem to follow the pattern of iambic pentameter which puts stress on certain words to provide emphasis for instance in the first line "fair" is stressed to show how beautiful he considers London to be. The rhyming pattern changes throughout the poem with it starting as ABBA but then changing to an alternative rhyme scheme (ABAB) at the start of the sestet. The atmosphere and mood created by Wordsworth is that of awe and splendour. This mood shown by lines such as "a sight so touching in its majesty" emphasises the poems meaning of his love for the city. Calmness and tranquillity are also present throughout the poem, for example "the beauty of the morning silent, bare". The title itself tells us that the London Wordsworth is writing about is just what he can view from looking out from Westminster Bridge. This setting explains why the poem describes London as beautiful and awe inspiring. If Wordsworth had written the poem from another perspective, for example a rancid back alley, it is likely he would have been much less complementary. ...read more.

Middle

The following line "Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep" Wordsworth again uses never to fully stress his point while he says "a calm so deep" to once again remind the reader of the tranquillity in the London morning. The "deep" is possibly referencing the river Thames as it is a deep river which causes it to be slow flowing and calm. "The river glideth of his own sweet will" supports this thought as well as providing a contrast between the previous feminine description of the city by now showing the river to be masculine. Wordsworth now praises god when he says "dear god! The very houses seem asleep:" as well showing how calm and empty the city is in the early morning. "and all that mighty heart is lying still" shows that the city is alive and not only that but the integral centre of the country. The second poem 'London' by William Blake is about how he views London. It is written with a bleak honesty of a citizen of London that helps to give its melancholic tone. The second poem bears many differences from the first including the most obvious dissimilarity of the moods (positive and negative) to subtleties that affect the authenticities of the descriptions like Wordsworth writing as a tourist compared to Blake's forehand knowledge of the city. Another difference is that Wordsworth writes from a stationary position whereas Blake moves through London throughout his poem. ...read more.

Conclusion

The next line reads "in every voice, in every ban". Blake makes two different allusions in this. The first "in every voice" means that the tiresome city erodes people's spirit and hope so much it is evident in the defeated drudgery of their speech. The second point "in every ban" could refer to the certification of marriage as indoctrination into the proletariat life (married young, large families) or could be linked to the later observation that marriage leads to death as husbands spread venereal disease as a result of adultery committed with prostitutes. The final line of the stanza Blake makes the preceding lines meaning apparent by saying "the mind forged manacles I hear". This cumulative statement portrays the entrapment of the entire society and Blake's own feeling of helplessness shown by "I" that tells us how he is completely surrounded by the pain of every citizen. The "mind forged manacles" are not physical but purely figurative showing that people have accepted the status quo. The third stanza starts "how the blackening chimney-sweepers cry" this shows that the society is trying to clean the ashes that cause their state of depression furthermore it shows that it is specifically the youth of the society that are trying to eradicate the mistakes of their ancestors as chimney sweepers were often only boys. The next line "every blackening church appals" Is an oxymoron. Instead of the church being a place for redemption and salvation that reaches out to the working man it suggests it has been abandoned by London citizens. ...read more.

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