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Compare the ways in which Wordsworth and Blake express very different feelings about the sights and sounds of London in "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge" and "London".

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Introduction

Compare the ways in which Wordsworth and Blake express very different feelings about the sights and sounds of London in "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge" and "London" William Blake and William Wordsworth were both key figures of the Romantic era. Characterized by its emphasis on passion, emotion and creativity, the Romantic Movement occurred in Europe in the late eighteenth, and early nineteenth centuries. Blake's "London"(1794) and Wordsworth's "Composed upon Westminster Bridge"(1803) are good examples of poems from the Romantic era, as both poets share a sense of emotional involvement in their works. However, similarities between the two do not extend beyond their common theme: London. Blake's dark and bitter portrayal of the city contrasts sharply with Wordsworth's awe-struck account of a sunrise viewed from Westminster Bridge. Contrasts can be found in all aspects of the two poems, and both poets used a variety of techniques to effectively express their very different feelings about the sights and sounds of London. The tone in Blake's London is one of bitterness and negativity, with him using such words as "weakness" and "woe". The theme of the poem is a wide description of London, but also specifically focuses upon the people and how they live their lives. ...read more.

Middle

Wordsworth's language is in places quite old fashioned: "This city now doth, like a garment ,wear The beauty of the morning" The language is also more elaborate than Blake's, for example, Blake's "Thames does flow", whereas according to Wordsworth: "The river glideth at his own sweet will" Wordsworth's language is also very emotive e.g. "majesty", "splendour" and "mighty heart", and he uses a lot of adjectives, e.g. "smokeless air", "bright" and "glittering". Wordsworth uses a lot of natural imagery in the poem e.g. "Earth has not a thing to show more fair", "the beauty of the morning", "the fields" and "the sky". This helps to convey a sense of harmony between the urban and the natural. Further, through personification and pathetic fallacy, Wordsworth is able to give human characteristics to the city, adding to the sense that London is a living organism, a part of the natural environment. Personification is evident in lines four to five: "This city doth, like a garment, wear The beauty of the morning" In lines nine to ten: "Never did sun more beautifully steep in his first splendour" In line thirteen " the very houses seem asleep". ...read more.

Conclusion

Wordsworth uses enjambment to give Composed Upon Westminster Bridge a flowing, natural feel, and punctuation is used to maximise the celebratory tone (i.e. only one full-stop, use of exclamation marks). Blake uses repetition to emphasise his idea of the monotonous hardship and misery of the people of London. His use of simple, unembellished punctuation helps to further convey this idea, by highlighting the rigidity and restriction which govern the lives of London's inhabitants. Elisions are frequently employed to aid the rhythm, which demonstrates the importance of a rigid structure to the sense of London, in complete contrast with Composed Upon Westminster Bridge. Although London and Composed Upon Westminster Bridge both deal with the subject of London at a similar time in history, they share very little common ground beyond this. Blake's grim, desperate city seems a million miles away from Wordsworth's elaborate celebration of a city at dawn. Although both poets use similar techniques to express their very different feelings about the sights and sounds of London, these techniques, such as imagery and literary devices, give different effects in each poem, depending on how they have been used. These two poems may seem to be very similar, but Blake and Wordsworth have used lots of different methods to demonstrate beyond doubt their very different feelings about the sights and sounds of London. Peter Hambling 1 ...read more.

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