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Comparing The Two Pictures Of London, Illustrated By Wordsworth And Blake In Their Two Poems

1679 words - 7 pages

Comparing the Two Pictures of London, Illustrated by Wordsworth and Blake in Their Two Poems

The two poems depicting London by Wordsworth and Blake are in some
ways similar and yet have many differences. Both observations of
London are depicted through the poets' personal perspectives of London
using individual experiences. We can tell that both poems are from the
person's interpretations and experiences as they are said in the first
person: 'Ne'er saw I…' in Wordswoths' poem and:

'I wonder through each chartered street…' in Blakes'.

Both poems are well structured and use emphatic language. 'Upon
Westminster Bridge' is a Petrachran sonnet which expresses strong
emotion. It depicts his joy and awe of a beautiful city that is
sleeping. It comes across as very optimistic with only positive things
to say. The elation is built up through the sonnet using rhyme and
emphatic language '... a calm so deep!' and similes are used that
portray an underlying theme 'This city now doth, like a garment,
wear.' I think this is where the first look at the poem is not enough
to fully grasp Wordsworth's meaning.

Blake's poem at first glance is very much the opposite: it too uses
emphatic language and builds up the feeling through the quatrains
which allow his thoughts to progress yet the feeling and emotional
outbursts are of a completely different nature. This poem seems
pessimistic and has only gloom and negative points mentioned.' In
every cry of every man' is different to Wordsworths' depiction of
serenity, beauty and calm:

'A sight so touching in its majesty'.

The River Thames is used in both poems but is illustrated differently.
In Wordsworth's poem 'the river glideth at its own sweet will' which
suggests beauty and the idea of a river flowing through a sleeping
haven, whereas in Blake's poem the river is 'chartered'; It flows past
chartered streets where all the people as a result have 'Marks of
weakness marks of woe'. A charter is a legal document that is binding
and it is almost as if Blake is saying that the underclass are bound
by legality, like a document that forces them into stealing and
prostitution which makes the rest of society look badly upon them.
They aren't free and are highly restricted.

'London' is set at night which signifies darkness, death and horror,
perhaps demonstrating the fact that things will get worse unless
society changes and accepts everyone whereas 'Upon Westminster bridge'
is set at dawn which is light and signifies birth and happiness and
joy. Both poems are of the same city but the perceptions are
completely different and this comes across in the poets' writing.

Both poems are set in the heart of the Industrial Revolution where
factories were in constant use and living conditions were bad.
'…smokeless air' is said in Wordsworths' poem...

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