London, 1802 Essay

1038 words - 5 pages

“Life is divided into three terms- that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present to live better in the future.” This quote by Williams Wordsworth explains the purpose of his poem “London, 1802”. Although the topic of this poem could vary, one that stands out the most is tradition. Wordsworth used a harsh tone in his poem to explain the current inadequacy of England, though he states his opinion with good intentions. Wordsworth desired for England to reclaim the great values it once had and hoped that pointing out these famous traditions of the past will present the knowledge to salvage this treasure.
The first line ...view middle of the document...

In line seven, he cries out to his greatest influence, John Milton, and pleads for him to return to them. The reader begins to get a sense of admiration that Wordsworth feels towards Milton. In line eight, Wordsworth asks Milton to give the Englishmen characteristics that they have lost such as manners, virtue, freedom, and power. This octave shows that “England was once a great place of happiness, religion, art, and literature, but at the present moment those virtues have been lost. Wordsworth can only describe England as a swampland where people are selfish and must be taught about things like manners, virtue, freedom, and power” (Wordsworth's 1).
In the sestet, Wordsworth begins to explain to the reader the great characteristics of John Milton. He begins in line nine with a simile comparing his soul to a star, meaning he had a bright soul. He goes on to say that, something special about Milton caused him to stand apart from the rest. In the next line, He uses another simile to explain his voice. He claims that Milton’s voice was as powerful and influential as the sea. The reader can infer that many people put their trust in Milton because of his wise words that he spoke. This line also shows that Wordsworth was greatly influenced by Milton’s voice and complements his poetic voice. In line eight, he continues to explain Milton’s voice in his poems, saying it was pure, majestic, and powerful. In the next lines, he explains how Milton was a good man who seemed to possess a form of moral perfection and lived his life worry-free and happy. In the final words of the sestet, Wordsworth concludes his praise by saying that Milton’s heart was humble and was willing to tackle any task regardless of how unglamorous it may be. This section shows Wordsworth’s admiration for Milton and explains his great poetic force as well as his character.
This poem represents a petrarchan sonnet in iambic pentameter, divided into two main parts, the octave and the sestet. The octave...

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