Compare and contrast the different images of London contained in the two poems 'London Snow' and 'London'.

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Compare and contrast the different images of London contained in the two poems ‘London Snow’ and ‘London’.

‘London Snow’ presents an image of happiness, playfulness and excitement; however ‘London’ is its antithesis, with nothing but doom, gloom, sadness and death. ‘London Snow’ was written by Robert Bridges (1844 – 1930) and ‘London’ was written by William Blake (1757 – 1827). The dates when these people lived are arguably important. Generally speaking, life was better when Bridges was alive than when Blake was alive. Bridges may have lived during the most brutal and destructive event the world has ever seen in the shape of World War 1, however domestically life had improved until 1914, for example the Liberal government of the early 1900s tried to help the poor and the elderly. This improvement of lifestyle could explain the extreme differences between the poems, and why Bridges poem is happier, as I believe the poem was written round about 1900.

The normal day-to day life of London is very busy and rushed, and the city itself is quite polluted, and as previously mentioned, the noise is very loud due to cars, factories etc. Small problems such as this can affect people’s morale and happiness, but there are certain things that can at least temporarily make people feel a bit happier, can add a spring to their step, and the below quote is a perfect example of this.

“When men were all asleep the snow came flying,

In large white flakes falling on the city brown,

Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying,

Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town;

Hiding difference, making unevenness even,

Into angles and crevices softly drifting and sailing.”

Above is the opening of the poem ‘London Snow’. Snow is almost likened to magic, as it hushes the noise of the traffic and hides the hostility that can often be found within a large but compressed city such as London. However, the snow acts as a temporary cover for the doom and gloom of city life and gives an image of a sense of heavenly brightness. The opening of the poem ‘London’ is rather different.

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“I wander thro’ each charter’d street

Near where the charter’d Thames does flow,

And mark in every face I meet,

Marks of weakness, marks of woe.”

The language of this quote is first person, as the author is referring back to himself because he is wandering through the streets. London is a very large city, one of the biggest and probably the best known city in the entire world. The author describes the weakness and woe he sees in every face, as he wanders through each street. For the author to see such widespread unhappiness and dissatisfaction on this level ...

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