Compare and contrast “London” by William Blake and “Composed up on Westminister Bridge” by William Wordsworth.
This essay is based on the two contrasting poems written by William Wordsworth and William Blake. In this essay I will be writing on what made these two poets to write two different things to each other based on London.
William Wordsworth was born in 1770 in London. He was one of the great English poets. In 1971 he graduated from Cambridge. He had a baby with Annette Vallon named as Caroline in 1792. Wordsworth was extraordinarily close to his sister Dorothy in Dorset shire. Throughout his life she was his constant and devoted companion. His sister always helped him with his homework. In Dorset shire Wordsworth became intimate friend of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Together the two poets wrote Lyrical Ballads (1798), in which they sought to use the language of ordinary people in poetry; it included Wordsworth’s poem “Tintern Abbey. In 1802 Wordsworth married Mary Hutchinson, an old school friend, and the couple had four children. His sister Dorothy always supported him so he was happy through out his life. He also had support from his friends as well. He use to write poems for the queen. He had to write poems that will make people feel happy including the queen. This might be why he use to write happy poems.
William Blake was born in London, where he spent most of his life. His father was a London hosier and. Blake was first educated at home, chiefly by his mother. In 1767 his parents sent him to Henry Pars’ drawing school. From his early years, he experienced visions of angels and ghostly monks. He saw and conversed with the angel Gabriel, the Virgin Mary, and various historical figures. At the age of 14 Blake was apprenticed for seven years to the engraver James Busier. After studies at the Royal Academy School, Blake started to produce watercolours and engrave illustrations for magazines. In 1783 he married Catherine Boucher, the daughter of a market gardener. Blake taught her to draw and paint and she assisted him devoutly. In 1774 Blake opened with his wife and younger brother Robert a print shop. But the venture failed after the death of Robert in 1787. Blake wrote his poems at the age of 12. he use to bleive in heaven. His brother Robert died in 1787. Blake died in august 12, 1827. This might effect the poem because he had a unhappy life. He had shock after another. In this poem he wrote about how he felt after his parents died.
The stories of the two poems are totally different to each other. In William Wordsworth poem the story is about London which is a place like heaven but in Blake’s poem the story is about London which is a place like hell. In William Wordsworth’s poem London is the most beautiful place on earth. Who ever passes by London, a sight so touching in its majesty would be a boring person. He says that London wears the beauty of the morning sun like a garment cloth. And London is very silent at morning time. Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie freely to the open earth and the open sky. He also says that London is free of pollution. And the sun never shined more beautifully over valley, rock or hills. Wordsworth says that he never saw or felt any calmness like in London. He says that the river glided at its own pace. He says to God that the houses seem quiet and all the mighty heart is calm. William Blake’s story is totally different to Wordsworth’s. In his poem he walks through the streets of the government. Next to the chartered Thames the people have the mark of weakness and miserable on their face. He says that the man and the infants are crying. Everybody is talking about the bans made by the government. He says that he hears the sound of manacles in his mind. People are mentally imprisoned. He says that the chimney sweepers are crying and the churches are all blackened by the corruption. He also says that the unlucky soldiers are sighing because they have to kill other people, and they can’t do anything about it. He says that he hears the young harlot’s new born baby crying at midnight.
Wordsworth “composed upon Westminster Bridge” and Blake “London” are two contrasting poems. In London in the 18th century, conditions for the poor and the rich were completely opposite to each other. The rich people were very rich and healthy and the poor people were very poor and unhealthy. Wordsworth and Blake set their poem at this time. They have expressed in their poem how London was to them, and how they felt about it. In Wordsworth’s poem the London is described as the best place on planet but in Blake’s poem the description is completely opposite. It is described as the corrupted place on planet. Wordsworth shows a wonderful theme of London but Blake on the other hand is completely different. Blake shows the corrupted theme of London where people feel imprisoned.
The tones of the poems are contrasting. Wordsworth has a positive tone whereas Blake has a negative tone. Wordsworth in his poem he feels free, for example he says “the river glideth at his own sweet will”. Here Wordsworth shows the reader that the river is travelling at its own pace and there is nobody controlling its pace. Wordsworth feels very calm and peaceful “never saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!” he is giving the audience a calm view of London. He is telling the audience that London is very peaceful. Wordsworth expresses London as the most beautiful place on earth “earth has nothing to show more fair”. He is giving the audience an expression that London is the best place on earth by comparing London with the earths other cities.
The poets use a variety of poetic techniques to communicate their message. Blake uses numerous amount of rhyme in his poem. He feels bored “street-meet”. Here he is giving the audience a view of London where people are so bored. There isn’t any fun stuff so he keeps on using the same rhymes. He also gets the audience trapped in the rhyme after rhyme, whereas Wordsworth doesn’t use much rhymes “fair-wear-bare”. Wordsworth doesn’t use much rhyme. He gives the audience images of different things in London. But throughout the whole poem he gives the audience an exciting view of London. Blake uses alliteration because he feels trapped. He hears “mind forged manacles”. This is very effective because people associates manacle with prison. It’s a strong image. But Wordsworth doesn’t use any alliteration. He doesn’t give any image of being trapped; instead he gives the audience a view of freedom.
Blake uses a numerous amount of repetition. He feels bored of the corruption in London “in every- in every- in every”. Here Blake is emphasising the point that London is very full of corruption that he has to use repetition a lot. This is very effective because it gives the audience a boring feeling. On the other hand Wordsworth barely uses repetition in his poem because his poem is fun and not boring “never saw I, never felt”. Here Wordsworth is emphasising the point that London is very peaceful and calm. He doesn’t need to use much repetition as Blake because there are lots of different activities that people do. This is very effective because it doesn’t trap the audience on the same word over and over again.
The poets are giving the audience a different message to each other. Wordsworth is telling the audience to come and visit this wonderful city which is the best place on earth. He is giving the message that London is very beautiful and it’s not chartered. All the peoples are free. They aren’t trapped. But Blake on the other hand is giving the audience the message that London is one of the worst places on earth. It’s filled with corruption and people aren’t free. They are mentally trapped. Every thing there is chartered.
I would prefer William Wordsworth’s poem because it gives a wonderful theme of London. Wordsworth gives a wonderful feeling to me. His poem lets me feel free. It lets me escape from the corrupted side of London. He talks about different stuff in London and doesn’t use much repetition. This makes me read the whole poem. But it is true that he just looks at London as heaven. His poem is actually different in reality. He exaggerates too much about things. But still he lets the audience to escape from the real world for a bit.