In this essay I will be comparing and contrasting two poems. These two poems are called Composed upon Westminster Bridge by William Wordsworth and London by William Blake. Both poems are about London and are set in the late 1700’s / early 1800’s.
The Structure of both poems are different, William Blake’s London Poem has 4 stanzas and an ABAB rhyming pattern. He also uses a lot of negative words such as rigid, harsh, aggressive tone. When Blake wrote his poem he must have been planned. He has 4 verses so it is like he is talking about 4 parts of London, so it’s like he is talking about a journey through London. Whereas in William Wordsworth’s poem composed upon Westminster Bridge it’s more like a sonnet which is normally about love, this then tells us that the poem is positive. His poem is enjambment which basically means it allows the poem to flow for example calm and tranquil feeling, peaceful all these words make the poem positive and allow it to flow.
Blake uses a lot of negative words in his poem. ‘’Marks of weakness, marks of woe’’ This quote explains that there are marks of sadness and illness and this is a negative word. Whereas William Wordsworth uses a lot of positive words for example, ‘’The Beauty of the morning; silent, bare’’ This quote is saying that the morning is still/quiet where no one is around. This can be a positive thing as you would be able to see the city’s beauty. Blake uses alliteration to get the reader to feel his anger and hatredness. ‘’ And the hapless Soldier’s sigh’’ This explains his anger when he uses the word ‘hapless’ to express his feelings about the soldiers. Blake uses a lot of repetition in the word ‘every’ this is to explain that everyone is suffering and that there is no escape. Wordsworth use’s A lot of personification for example. ‘’This City now doth, like a garment, wear’’ here he is describing the sunlight; he does this to bring things to life for the reader. In both poems they create vivid imagery, one is positive and one is negative.
In the Late 1700’s there was a French revolution, this was where several riots took place against the government. The government were scared so they put bans in to control it. Blake recognises ‘’I wander thro’ each chartered street everything owned and controlled even the river. In the rest of the verse Blake shows negative effect, ‘’Marks of weakness, marks of woe’’ by this he mean marks of illness and sadness, this therefore is negative. William Wordsworth Does not reference it ‘’the river glideth at his sweet own will’’ this means that it has freedom and no control. Blake lived in London and experienced it, whereas Williams Wordsworth was passing through from Dorset to France (momentary poem) did not know London as well.
By this time Machines and factories started to come in, people moved to London for the jobs and London began to get overcrowded and dirty. The pollution began to rise and there were more chances of catching diseases. Blake shows this in his poem ‘’ How the Chimney-sweeper’s cry’’ black churches shows soot and dirt from factories. William Wordsworth Doesn’t references it in his poem. ‘’All bright and glittering in the smokeless air’’ this is different because you would expect Factories and Pollution. This may be because Blake wrote his at night in centre of London where it was more industrial and poor and Wordsworth wrote his from the bridge on the outskirts of London which was less industrial and richer. Also Wordsworth wrote his in the morning, factories might not have been open and Blake’s was at night. ‘But most thro’ midnight streets I hear’- Blake Wrote his at night. ‘The beauty of the morning; silent, bare’ Wordsworth wrote his poem in the morning.
Both Poets are Pantheists which means that they see god in everything. Wordsworth’s Dear god quote, ‘’Dear God! The very houses seem asleep’’ using the words Dear God means that he is talking directly to God thanking for the view, it is as if he thinks god is London. Wordsworth uses another line to show that he is a pantheist, ‘Never did the sun more beautifully steep’ this quote is creationism basically saying ever since the God created sun he has never seen anything so Good. Blake uses words such as blackening church appals to show that he is a pantheist. This is weird as we think of churches as white and pure etc but this is black, evil and corrupt. Appals (funeral veil) signifies the death of religion. Blake rejected the church as he thought they weren’t helping people that were suffering. Another Blake uses an oxymoron in the word “marriage-hearse’’ which is a negative premonition of what’s going to happen if there is no change. Blake is trying to cause change. The Poem is revolutionary which scared the upper classes.
To conclude this essay, Blake’s Poem is a negative side of London and he believes something different to Wordsworth. Wordsworth is positive as he see’s London as natural beauty. But there are some similarities for example they are both pantheists, there poems are both about London. And there are some differences for example they have different beliefs on what London is like sort of like their own opinion. I believe Wordsworth more as he was describing the natural beauty which God created, and also it was more interesting to read as he was describing it positively.