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The two poems 'London' by William Blake and 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge' by William Wordsworth are both about London city and were written within twelve years of each other but each show very different pictures of London.

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Introduction

Compare the ways in which Blake and Wordsworth express contrasting views of London in their poems. The two poems 'London' by William Blake and 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge' by William Wordsworth are both about London city and were written within twelve years of each other but each show very different pictures of London. Blake writes about a dull, depressing city where the inhabitants are victims of injustice and oppression. Institutions of power such as the church and the reigning monarch are rendered by synecdoche, by mentioning the places in which they reside and are so associated with - the church itself and the palace. Blake was born in London to a middle class family and although not directly affected by poverty, he witnessed it every day he ventured outside of his home. Along with Wordsworth, Blake had strong beliefs and hopes for the American and French revolution and showed his support by wearing a red liberty cap. Blake rejected all forms of imposed authority and had been charged for assault and speaking words of treason against the King in 1803. ...read more.

Middle

The structure and form of the poem differs also. Blake uses a standard 'abab' rhyme scheme and limits his poem to four quatrains. The poem is short and direct, perfect for proving a point. "Marks of weakness, marks of woe" Blake's intentions are to highlight the corruption that London is seeped in and to make it's injustice apparent - it is basically propaganda. The poems blunt style reflects this, as he doesn't want to describe the city, he just wants to put it to shame. In contrast, Wordsworth writes his poem in the form of a sonnet, typically a love poem. His rhyme scheme is more complex 'abbaabbacdcdcd'. Wordsworth writes as if he is in love with London and his style corresponds to the Romantic Age. He uses this form of poem to accentuate the femininity of London and it's beauty. "A sight so touching in its majesty" As with all forms of literature, devices are a necessity to ensure its impact on the reader. These two poems are no different. Blake's poem revolves around the central metaphor "Mind forg'd manacles" which implies that the people allow themselves to be dictated and restricted - it almost seems expected. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!" Wordsworth also personifies the river to show that it is free and full of life (exactly the opposite to what Blake said!). "The river glideth at his own sweet will" The collection of devices in Wordsworth's poem creates a calm, serene mental image of London, which is what he set out to do. The language in both poems is typical of the late 18th century/early 19th century. Words are interrupted by apostrophes ("Charter'd", "Ne'er") and also words that are now extinct from everyday conversation such as "doth" can be seen as well. The language gives the poems character and a heightened sense of intelligence and sophistication. In conclusion, both Blake and Wordsworth are extremely good poets who both express their emotion and opinions in a captivating and meaningful way. Despite having conflicting opinions it is easy to appreciate both sides of the story as it were, because of the passion and emotion knitted into the words and threaded into the sentences. If anything the poems prove that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Additional information from www.wikipedia.org ?? ?? ?? ?? Emma Coppin 08/05/07 ...read more.

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