The two poems “The Chimney Sweeper” and “London” by William Blake, and
the two poems “Tich Miller” and “Timothy Winters” are all on a theme
of childhood, however, they are set in different eras and so childhood
should be very different. Discuss this, comparing and contrasting the
As a child, William Blake was a loner. He never socialised with other
children and sat by himself reading the Bible.
His family were very religious, but did not agree with organised
religion. This meant that they never went to church and did all their
worshipping at home.
Blake was always an outsider and he refused to join in with his
brothers and sisters. He had visions of angels and God when he was
young and he often thought that this was normal for children of his
age. This is shown in “The Chimney Sweeper” when he says, “As Tom was
a-sleeping, he had such a sight!
Blake used to walk long distances across the countryside. He saw
London grow and develop over the years, and he hated it. Soon the
places he used to walk were taken over by “charter’d streets”. He
thought the Industrial Revolution ruined people’s lives. He saw, once
happy and smiling faces, turn grey and sad.
At the time, children hardly went to school but were sold or put to
work at a very young age. He sees childhood as innocent and thinks
that being put to work takes that away from you, making you
In his two poems, “The Chimney Sweeper” and “London” he shows
childhood as a sad, lonely and hard time in a place where there is
industry and no freedom.
In the poem “London” Blake uses the word “every” a lot
“In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear”
This shows that Blake thinks that there is no escape from the sadness
that people are feeling.
The line “Mind-forg’d manacles I hear” gives the impression that
everybody is being forced to think the same about issues and that
there is a lot of fear amongst the people in London. This line also
gives the impression of a prison and people being behind bars. This is
because Blake didn’t like authority and believed in free will.
The poem has a very strong rhythm, this sounds like either the
Industrial Revolution or Blake’s’ fist on a table in anger.
“And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse”
In this last line of the poem, Blake puts two opposing ideas in a
sentence. It puts a whole different view on marriage, making it seem
like the beginning is the start of the end. Blake sees life in London
very depressing; this could be why he thinks that marriage is like
death. Living in a place like London could lead to hatred and end up
not being, hence, the end of a marriage, a funeral.
Blake is appalled by the cruelty to children that is going on. He
mentions “Infants” twice in the poem, both saying that they are
crying. “How the youthful Harlot’s curse
Blasts the new born Infants tear”
This shows that there were a lot of unwanted children at the time