The Sick Rose vs. London: a Poetic Comparison

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The Sick Rose vs. London: A poetic Comparison

William Blake was a renowned poet whose works continue to be recognized long after his death. Blake was more than a poet he was also a painter and printmaker. Often his engraving art would act as the accompanying image to his poetry. Throughout his lifetime the British poet wrote several poems. The vast majority of Blake’s work was centered on strong religious themes or human existence itself. However in the works Sick Rose and London neither of these common themes is present. Though the two poems are different in content they both share an underlying darkness, perhaps even a sense of warning of the true cruelty of the world.

In both poems Blake uses strong imagery to convey the evils and corruption of the world. In London he use one increasingly gruesome image after another from the “marks of woe” in the passersby’s faces to blood running down the palace walls, and finally the harlots cursing in the street in order to give the reader a clear mental picture of what he is trying to get across. Similarly in Sick Rose Blake uses highly descriptive phrases, as the “invisible worm “ and “howling storm” . Through this imagery both poems are able to convey an evil force that threatens to destroy life in some form. In London it is the internal corruption of the monarchy and church at the time the poem was written threatened to destroy Blake’s once fair London and leave behind nothing but sorrow, death and filth. Just as in The Sick Rose the invisible worm, indicative of some malicious being or force, is slowly destroying the life of the beautiful crimson rose. In addition to imagery both poems, though different in content, share a likeness in genre, structure, and outer form. The two works are both in the lyric genre of poetry. However, because of London’s...
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