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London by William Blake and Composed Upon Westminster by William Wordsworth

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Capitals of countries are renowned to having the best of the best facilities either being in an LEDC or MEDC, capitals are meant to stand out from the rest of the country. But sometimes capitals aren’t as glamorous as they may seem. This is what “London” by William Blake and “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge” is about.

William Blake knows London inside out as he lived there all his life. He shows the true colours of the city by describing the suffering and corruption being faced by the people who live there. This suffering came about during the industrial revolution in Britain at the time. He shows how the child labour, over-time working hours and prostitution has taken over the capital. The harsh conditions anger Blake and this makes him against the belief that the working class are lower than the upper class people. “In every voice in ban” suggests injustice is being thrown on the poor people by the rich society.

However, “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge” has an entirely different subject to the “London” poem. Wordsworth was inspired by nature and its relationship with man. He loves beautiful sights and views of anything involving nature. This poem is about a person visiting London for the first time and falling love with the sight. The view he witnesses is unbelievable for Wordsworth to pass by, so he paints a picture using words. He sees ships, towers, domes, theatres, temples smokeless air, valleys, rocks, hills, rivers and houses which he is attracted to. He describes these sights before his eyes as “A sight so touching in its majesty.”

The language used in Blake’s poem starts off negative and remains negative throughout the entire poem. He uses negative language like weakness, woe, cry, sigh, blood, tear, blasts, marriage hearse, blights, appals and fear. These negative words engulf the entire poem to create a dull atmosphere.

In the other hand, “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge” is full of positive language that gives the poem a romantic background. Language like beauty, glittering, bright, splendour, majesty, calm, sweet and touching create a calm and fluent poem to read. There words are also an example of emotive language which can causes the reader to indulge in with the emotions the speaker is experiencing.

“London” has been written just like a song with a strict ABAB rhyme scheme. The rhyme scheme is carried through the poem in all four stanzas. Each stanza has four lines.

“Composed Upon Westminster Bridge” has been written as a sonnet which contains fourteen lines. The poem contains few lines that rhyme but not as consistent as Blake’s poem.

“London” begins off using the 1st person but in time fades away. This is because in the first two stanzas, the subject is very personal to Blake and his feelings, and this is why he uses “I”. But as the reader reads the poem, it doesn’t stay personal to Blake as the reader starts to feel the harsh living conditions and the 1st person doesn’t remain on the poem.

“Composed Upon Westminster Bridge” uses lots of commas so the reader pauses to get the full emotion flourishing through Wordsworth’s body. Wordsworth also uses Capital letters for each line in the poem as the things he sees are so valuable to him. The importance of not one line, but fourteen lines is there for everyone to see.

In “London” there are uses of repetitions mainly at the beginning of the poem. Blake uses repetition on the words “charted”, “marks” and “every”. This creates a sequence in the readers mind and also informs him/her the message Blake is trying to get across.

In “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge”, Wordsworth uses figurative language to create a more vivid picture in the reader’s mind. The examples of personification used in the poem are “This City now doth like a garment wear”, “Never did the sun more beautifully steep” and “The river glideth a his own sweet will.”

Wordsworth uses a hyperbole to create exaggeration when he states “And all that mighty heart is lying still!”

Blake uses the word “hearse” combined with “Marriage” to create an image that when someone is married in a bond, they catch diseases which then they have to be carried to a funeral.

Wordsworth’s language as times is exclaimed when he used exclamation marks (!). This appears on every sentence that excites him. For example, “Ne’er saw I, never felt a calm so deep!” This sentence shows that the calmness Wordsworth feels is huge and he states he has never felt that sensation before.

Both poems have many differences but there is also a similarity. The poems use language to paint a picture and at times over exaggerate the plot. This makes it effective as the writer can dictate what the reader needs to think. Even though the poems are exaggerated, the poems come from an honest and personal background. Blake feels the suffering is unbearable so that is his opinion whereas Wordsworth feels the beauty is something to cherish. They both are their opinions whereas other may disagree with.

In conclusion, I believe that the poem I most preferred is Blake’s “London” because it was more emphasized in an understandable manner. “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge” is a more romantic poem whereas “London” has got a serious background connected to it. “London” also can encourage the richer people to stop the inequality and suffering by taking action and is more appealing. However, people living in London at the time will have found Wordsworth’s poem rather ridiculous as he describes the natural beauty about the place. Blake knows everything behind the doors whereas Wordsworth doesn’t.

If people listen to Blake’s poem they will try to be sympathetic with the people suffering and will help. However, if people read Wordsworth’s poem, they will get interested in London and may fall in the poverty trap and doing so, they will join many others.

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