Comparison between the poems 'Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802' and 'London'.

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English coursework

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802, written by William Wordsworth starts very differently to the poem London, which was written by William Blake,

“Earth has nothing to show more fair”.

Wordsworth paints a very unique picture of the part of London he is writing about by using hyperbole and personification. We can see this hyperbole as Wordsworth claims that that certain place in London is the best place in the world, which it obviously isn’t. He also uses personification as the earth does not literally ‘show’ itself as humans do.

William Blake, however, starts his poem in a very negative light,

“I wander through each chartered street”

Blake paints a completely opposite picture of London as shown in this quote. He uses words such as ‘chartered’, implying that London, in those days, was bound tightly by rules and regulations. We can also see here that William Blake is a political thinker as he obviously doesn’t think much of the laws that the Londoners were bound by.

Wordsworth carries on praising the beauty and sanctity of London in his poem by saying,

“Dull would he be of soul who could pass by a sight so touching in its majesty”

Wordsworth again praises London by making it seem a sight that no soul could by pass without seeing its ‘majesty’. By using words like majesty, Wordsworth is trying to imply a sense of royalty attached to London. Another word, touching, implies further beauty, also creating a sense of heartfelt emotion, connected to the idea of something ‘touching’ one’s heart.

In contrast to this Blake carries on his poem negatively,

“Near where the chartered Thames does flow”

Blake carries on his concept of London being a rule-bound city by saying that the river Thames is a place also bound by the charters. The river Thames in those days was used mainly for the transport of goods and such along the river, so laws were implemented governing the control of ships.

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Wordsworth goes further into his poem by saying,

“The city now doth like a garment; wear the beauty of the morning:”


Wordsworth uses another personified phrase here by implying that the city like a human ‘wears the beauty’ of the morning. We can also see that Wordsworth wrote his poem in the morning which is a time that the usual hustle of people going to work; the smoke from the chimneys and the boats in the Thames would not be there. The presence of such things would obviously take the peace and tranquillity away from such a ...

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