The writings of the poets of the Romantic Period were directly affected by the events that took place around them. Most of these writers were deeply associated with London, and as the capital of England, anything that took place affected them most. This was a direct reflection of the subject matter of their various works, from the influence of the Church of England, to the rights of women during that time period.
The first work of this time period I will discuss is London from William Blake’s Songs of Experience. In this piece, Blake starts off by the depressing fact that generally all of London is heavily controlled, even the Thames River. The reader can tell that London is not portrayed as a happy place in the poem; everyone that the narrator passes by is in an enslaved depressed mental state. The Church of England is also mentioned in the poem, and is referred to as the “black’ning church.” Blake believed the Church to be more of a hindrance than a help to the people of England, and instead of shining a light on the community, darkened it. The black soot that covered the churches in the city from the Industrial Revolution took on a more symbolic meaning than it should have. Plenty of small boys had become chimney sweeps in London, and the churches would hire them to get rid of the black soot from the walls. But while they made a profit from the suffering of the laborers, they also soil its original purity.
The last issue that Blake made note of in his poem were the desperate young girls who had turned to prostitution. Because of this, syphilis became a very big problem in the area, and many children would have health problems from birth as a direct result. In a larger sense, one could see a simple girl practically ruining the institution of marriage and endangering children. This simple “stroll” through London sheds a light on how social and religious order must change.
A major part of the social order in London was the place of women in society. In A...
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