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Discuss William Blake's Poem 'London' With William Wordsworth's 'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge' in 1802.

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Introduction

Discuss William Blake's Poem 'London' With William Wordsworth's 'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge' in 1802 William Blake and William Wordsworth both lived in the 18th-19th century and both had very different views on the world even though they were both romantic composers and wrote about the same kind of things. The two poets contrast in very different ways about similar things. In these two poems about London they both give very different opinions of what they see around them. William Wordsworth writes about the complexity and power that he sees in his sonnet, whereas William Blake writes about the social problems of people in the poorer areas of London. The poets seem to be direct opposition to each other because one writes on the dirt, disease and decay, the other on the beauty, complexity and power. Both poets use personification, similes and metaphors in their work to interesting effect. William Blake sees the so-called 'truth' about London. He sees the poverty and suffering the people go through and the way they are controlled by invisible rules binding them to the poverty. "...in every ban, The mind-forg'd manacles I hear." ...read more.

Middle

Wordsworth sees London in an admiring way and he sees the majesty of it as he is a visitor to London and has had a totally different upbringing. "I wander thro' each charter'd street, Near where the charter'd Thames does flow," Blake here uses the word 'charter'd' to imply bound and dirty areas around the area of the Thames. He says that society has lost its spirituality and imagination and is just an empty shell covered in dirty and decay. "Every black'ning Church appals;" This tells us that Blake disapproves of the church and God. He blames God for all the misery and suffering he sees about him every day. Blake sees against the liturgy while Wordsworth seems to be with the church for he associates what he sees with God. "Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;" Here William Wordsworth shows that he approves of God and the church and he sees God as being the cause for all the power and beauty he sees in nature and industry. Wordsworth feels so overwhelmed by the calmness of London that he feels the need to call upon God's name. ...read more.

Conclusion

Wordsworth talks of the scenery, of the buildings and the industry and nature, for he is unaware of society's poverty. "Never did sun more beautifully steep In his first splendour, valley, rock or hill; Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!" "Dull would he be of soul who could pass by A sight so touching in its majesty:" This means you would have to be 'dead inside' if he or she could not appreciate such beauty. The fact that Wordsworth uses the word "majesty" offers a royal sense, a royal beauty, giving us the idea of just how beautiful and magnificent this city actually is. This contrasts well with the disease-ridden city described by Blake. In conclusion, Blake and Wordsworth have very different writing styles and views on the world. Wordsworth is fixed on nature and industry and power, whereas Blake is attempting to reveal the situation of poverty and suffering in society. The two poets therefore seem to be opposites, but in fact Wordsworth is just blind to the truth that Blake sees and Blake is blind to the truth that Wordsworth sees and therefore I believe that they would not be so against each other if they had just opened their minds to wider perspectives. ...read more.

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