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comparison of two poems about london by William Wordsworth and William Blake

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Introduction

In this essay I will be comparing two poems about London, one by William Wordsworth that was written upon Westminster Bridge and the other by William Blake called London, both of these poems have a very different view of the goings on of London. William Wordsworth has a tourist's very positive view of London but William Blake as a Londoner expresses his negative views of London. William Blake, who was born on 28th of November 1757 and died 12th August 1827 in the city of London where he spent the most of life, was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. During his lifetime Blake was unrecognised for his work and was very much known for his single-mindedness but since his death he and his work have been considered significant in history. Blake loathed slavery and believed in racial and sexual equality. Several of his poems and paintings express a notion of universal humanity: "As all men are alike (tho' infinitely various)". He retained an active interest in social and political events for all his life, but was often forced to resort to cloaking social optimism and political statements in a Protestant spiritual symbol. ...read more.

Middle

Blake expresses his harsh political views by putting a large emphasis onto the despair affecting everyone by the repetition of "every" there is also an exaggeration of the negative feeling by the repetition of "cry". In the third stanza Blake also shows his views by placing some of the responsibility onto the church; the church is metaphorically described as "blackening" to represent the guilt. There is also juxtaposition in this stanza, by using negative descriptions "blackening of the church" of positive establishment. Negative images in Blake's poem are his way of expressing his true feeling and frustration towards the city constrictions and corruption of London and its people. Blake images these restrictions, corrupting the population from an early age the 'new-born infant' for example is corrupted by the 'youthful Harlots curse'. The Chimney Sweeps are undoubtedly children therefore society corrupts them by making them work in a harmful environment by only giving them that choice or dieing. While Wordsworth's poem uses personification to give the city a sense of life and freedom "the river glideth at his own street will." Wordsworth is also able to introduce the countryside images "Valley, rock, or hill" to beautify the London scene. ...read more.

Conclusion

William Blake's poem is broken down into four, four line stanzas with an abab rhyming pattern. Both William Words worth and William Blake feel strongly about their own viewpoints towards London and written it in the first person because their poems are very personal to them. On one hand Wordsworth's poem about London is set in the early morning the day and he based his whole poem on those few moments that he spent on the Westminster Bridge "ne'er saw I, never felt a calm so deep" to put across what he saw and what he felt at the time. On the other hand William Blake also felt very strongly about his views about the happenings in London he believed in anti-establishment and used his poem put across how he felt about the controlled environment of London. I think that Wordsworth uses his passion for the countryside and all things to do with nature to articulate his "this city now doth like a garment wear" showing that he was totally oblivious to the other side of London that is not seen until its dark which is where Blake's poem comes in. Blake uses imagery to put across his view, with the main idea being the restriction and lack of freedom for everyone within London "the mind-forg'd manacles I hear" to metaphorically demonstrate his point. Tahira Noble-10SP ...read more.

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