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I am going to compare three very different poems which have been written about London. Two of these poems, by William Blake and William Wordsworth, were written before 1914 and the third poem was written post-1914 and is by Steve Turner.

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Introduction

Pre 1914 poetry In this essay, I am going to compare three very different poems which have been written about London. Two of these poems, by William Blake and William Wordsworth, were written before 1914 and the third poem was written post-1914 and is by Steve Turner. Each of these poems show a contrasting view-point; 'London' by William Blake (1799) has a very negative and dismal view of London, whilst 'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge' by Wordsworth (1802) gives a very positive image of love and beauty, even though they were written around the same time. However, we understand this to be partly because of the different angles or areas that each poet is writing from. The more modern poem, 'Daily London Recipe' provides an ambiguous view of the city, as we cannot, from the poem, tell his personal opinion of London itself, but rather it provides an insight into the inhabitants of London. In the essay I will attempt to show how each poet brings out their own opinions of London through their use of lexical choices, tone, rhyme and literary devices. ...read more.

Middle

However, this is preceded by the word 'blasts' which gives the reader an image of a shotgun and suggests that the infants' innocence is blown apart from a very early age. The word 'tear' at the end of this line emphasises the unhappiness of the people. In the final line of the poem, Blake mentions 'plagues,' reminding the reader of the black death, adding to the mood of suffering and misery. This is also connected with disease, which is again linked back to the 'youthful Harlots' as they sexual diseases. The poem is ended with the words 'the Marriage hearse.' These are two very contrasting words and suggest that marriage was seen as a route to death, as husbands often passed sexual diseases onto their wives. The constant use of negative language and imagery in this piece helps the reader to picture the misery, suffering and dirtiness that Blake was trying to illustrate. The second poem I will look at is 'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge,' by William Wordsworth. This is written in sonnet form to show is love for the city as it sounds as if the poem has been written for a woman. ...read more.

Conclusion

So although in this poem, in comparison to the other two, the poet, Steve Turner, does not express a particular opinion of London itself, we can gain some insight into what he thinks of London and its inhabitants through what he writes. All three poems show very different views and opinions of London. This may have been because of the viewpoints that each poem was written from. For example, it is clear from the title of Wordsworth's poem that he wrote it looking from Westminster Bridge and the way he writes suggests he wrote it in the early morning, 'The beauty of the morning,' when the city looked fresh and peaceful. This would explain his positive perspective. In contrast Blake's dismal view of the city could be because he may have written it from the inner city, hinted at from the claustrophobic feel of the poem. This is a possible explanation of the differing opinions. I found 'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge,' by Wordsworth too excessive and therefore slightly unbelievable. I thought that Blake's 'London' was the most effective piece, as although it was much bleaker, I found this more gritty and realistic. ...read more.

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