How Blake and Wordsworth Respond to Nature in their Poetry
What natural influences did Blake and Wordsworth respond to in their
poetry? Blake and Wordsworth were under different influences stemming
from their childhood. Wordsworth's pleasant and simplistic life style
in the country, contrasted with the harsh reality of life experienced
by Blake in the City of London. This essay analyses how both poets
expressed their very different views of London through their use of
themes, word devices, structure and tone.
Blake and Wordsworth were both born into the countryside lifestyle.
Wordsworth spent all of his childhood living in the Lake District;
this is reflected in his positive and naïve themes which permeate his
poetry. He developed a keen love of nature and as a youth frequently
visited places noted for their scenic beauty. His poetry as a youth,
although fresh and original in content, reflected the influence of the
formal style of 18th-century English poetry. Later on in his life the
Romantic Movement took place, this influenced Wordsworth to drop the
themes of artificial classicism and focus on nature; this signified a
revolt against the artificial classicism of contemporary English
verse. As he advanced in age, Wordsworth's poetic vision and
inspiration dulled; his later, more rhetorical and moralistic poems,
are of inferior quality to the lyrics of his youth.
Blake was bought up as a son of hosier, and his father moved from the
countryside to work in London during the industrial revolution;
therefore Blake had direct experience of living in London and hence
his view of London is more accurate than Wordsworth's. Blake's
unsettled childhood is reflected in his complex symbolism which leaves
the poem open to interpretation. Blake had a failed business and eked
out a living for the majority of his life resulting in him having a
pessimistic view of life; this also is reflected in his poetry.
The poem London by Blake is about the corrupt and immoral environment,
which existed throughout English cities during the industrial
revolution; Blake discusses royalty, sexually transmitted diseases and
religious influence on people. Wordsworth however, displays a more
positive and naïve attitude when writing about themes such as life,
location and beauty. Therefore Wordsworth's poem Composed upon
Westminster Bridge is a song of naïve innocence compared to Blake's
poem "London" which is a song of bitter experience.
Both Poems use their structure to emphasise the content. William
Blake's London is written in four, four line stanzas with identical
syllable count in every line; this creates a regimented, almost
mechanical effect. It uses alternate line rhyming which emphasises the
word at the end of each line. In contrast Wordsworth's poem is written
in the form of an Italian sonnet,...