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Comparison of poems; "Lines composed upon Westminster bridge, Sept. 3 1802" and "London."

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Introduction

Comparison of poems; "Lines composed upon Westminster bridge, Sept. 3 1802" and "London." These two poems show very different views of London. "Lines composed upon Westminster Bridge", written by William Wordsworth, describes London in detail. He captures the beautified city and expresses the calmness of the morning. William Blake, who lived around the same time, wrote "London" which expresses the chaotic and corrupt side of London. Wordsworth describes the city in much detail. "A sight so touching in its majesty." The "Earth has not anything to show more fair." He expresses his true feeling about the city from where he sees it. He goes on to personify the city and describe how it " doth like a garment wear The beauty of the morning; silent, bare". He has captured the city in the morning when it is quiet and in a sense almost naked with no one yet bustling through the streets, there are no fume engulfed traffic jams or shouting street salesmen. There is only the calmness of the morning. All the man made objects and buildings, such as "ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples lie open unto the fields and to the sky". ...read more.

Middle

A lot of repetition is used, unlike in Wordsworth's poem, to give emphasis to the points which he is trying to make. "In every cry, of every Man, In every Infants cry of fear, In every voice..." he only lists one example in each line but gives the effect of a lot of crying and pain and fear. He speaks in a first hand account throughout the poem "I wander", "I hear", and "I meet". By speaking in the present tense it makes the reader more inclined to think it is going on here and now however old the poem may be. By beginning the first line with "I wander thro' each chartered street" It makes it easier to visualise what he is describing because it is a first hand account. The chartered streets are each set out neatly and ordered, "the chartered Thames" is also very regulated and gives the impression of it being divided and bought and sold. He notices a mark in "every face I meet "Marks of wisdom, marks of woe." This evidence of scars of weakness and great sadness in faces contrasts with the peaceful and happy atmosphere Wordsworth gave to London. ...read more.

Conclusion

The first poem also used a regular meter, which, also worked well in describing the city peacefully and happily. The two poems contrast greatly in not what they describe but how they describe it. Wordsworth has a much more calming poem, which in effect leaves the reader much more calm and peaceful. This is unlike Blake's who describes so much evil and chaos going on, his poem leaves the reader much more depressed and almost disgusted with how the people and industries of London are behaving. Their use of language is also quite different, Wordsworth's entire poem is full of description of "beauty", "bright and glittering" and full of "splendour". He uses very grand descriptions of everything unlike the descriptions of Blake, which are quite harsh and blunt, "blasts the new born infants tear", "blights with plagues" and "runs in blood down palace walls." I did enjoy both poems but preferred the first, "Lines composed upon Westminster" because of its use of more soothing, happy descriptions of London. It made me feel much more relaxed after reading it whereas "London" left me feeling slightly more depressed and sad. Although this may have been the aim of Blake's poem I preferred Wordsworth's poem because it was much calmer. ...read more.

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