A Comparison of London by William Blake and Composed Upon Westminster Bridge by Wordsworth

A Comparison of London by William Blake and Composed Upon Westminster Bridge by Wordsworth

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A Comparison of London by William Blake and Composed Upon Westminster Bridge by Wordsworth


The poems are written from two very different perspectives. William
Blake's poem London is about a lifetime of London and is very negative
he puts London out to be ugly depressing and very much in despair he
tells us of prostitutes and very depressed people. Where as William
Wordsworth's poem Composed upon Westminster Bridge is very positive.
Wordsworth's poem gives out the impression of London as a beautiful
spectacular city. Wordsworth was a visitor to London and therefore his
poem is about only a small snapshot of the city, when it is very quiet
and at sunrise, his view is from Westminster Bridge from which the
back streets prostitutes etc cannot be seen.

William Wordsworth was born in the Lake District and travelled around
Europe he was a visitor to London. The poem is an expression of his
feelings he tells us about the beauty of London without the smoke
filled air and how the beauty of the ships, towers, domes, theatres
and temples is now unspoiled.

William Blake was born and lived in London; he was a very religious
man, a politically minded person and a mystic who was reputed to have
visions. The poem London is an expression of his sadness, anger and
despair for the population of London, he tells us of the prostitutes
and the children which are chimneysweepers. Blake tells us of the
goings on in London where as Wordsworth only tells us what he can see.

William Wordsworth's poem is written as a sonnet, the octave is an
elaborate description of his surroundings and what he can see. The
sestet is an expression of his feelings; he describes how all the
beauty makes him feel and how he has never felt like this before.
Blake's poem is written in quatrains and has four verses.

Wordsworth uses hyperbole several times in a poem for exaggeration and
chooses to uses words such as fair meaning beautiful, majesty meaning
royal and grand and bright and glittering meaning there is no smoke to

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hide the clear skies and fields. Wordsworth uses alliteration and
metaphors often to emphasise how beautiful the sight is 'all bright
and glittering in the smokeless air' uses alliteration, he uses
metaphor when he says 'and all that mighty heart is lying still' he is
calling London the mighty heart (the capital of the country.)
Wordsworth uses personification twice in the sestet, 'never did the
sun more beautifully steep in his first splendour valley rock or hill'
he is giving the sun human qualities, he refers to the sun as a he, he
is saying that the sun has never shone more beautifully over country
scenes he has visited in the past. He then again uses personification
to talk about the river Thames, 'the river glideth at his own sweet
will' he is again comparing the river to a male he is saying that the
river is flowing along peacefully. He also uses simile in the octave,
he is saying the city has clothed its self with a garment of beauty to
hide the smoke filled air and noisy people.

However unlike Wordsworth, Blake does not use personification or
simile Blake uses metaphor and alliteration he uses metaphor when he
says 'the mind forg'd manacles I hear' by this he means people are
trapped in their own minds, due to how depressing their living
conditions are, and again 'runs in blood down palace walls' he then
uses alliteration when he says 'and the hapless soldiers sigh' this is
talking about the soldiers who have no hope left, after the government
promised them houses, money clothes etc on their return from the war,
but have not received anything as such.

In Wordsworth's poem the mood is full of amazement and awe. The tone
is very sincere and the pace remains even and very soft throughout the
poem. Where as in Blake's poem the tone is very sarcastic, he uses the
word charter'd twice for emphasis he says 'I wander thro' each
charter'd street' 'near where the charter'd Thames does flow' the pace
is fast and angry during the first two quatrains but then in the last
two quatrains the pace is slow and full of sadness and the mood is
very depressing and full of sadness.

When I read the poem Composed upon Westminster Bridge i got an image
of a spectacular sunrise with beams of sunlight reflecting off the
buildings and water, ships in the port, everything still and quiet. I
got this image from 'the beauty of the morning; silent bare,' 'ships,
towers, domes, theatres and temples lie.'

Where as when I read the poem London I got an image of dirty filthy
bloodstained streets with prostitutes everywhere. Dirty children
(chimneysweepers) and a very scary place 'runs in blood down palace
words' is the line that has given me the impression that London is a
very scary place.

Blake is putting out a very negative view of London he seems appalled
and has a very sarcastic opinion; his overall opinion of London is
that it is disgusting, full of sadness and disgrace. He talks about
how he thinks prostitutes have ruined marriages 'and blights with
plagues the marriage hearse' he is also telling us that after the men
have used the prostitutes they have used the prostitutes they are
going back to their wives taking disease into the marriage.

Although in Wordsworth's poem it is a very positive view of London, he
is amazed by Londonespecially in this particular moment, he has very
high opinions of the city. 'Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep'
this is telling us how he feels. Wordsworth was a traveller of Europe
and in all the sights he must have seen he thinks this is by far the
best.

The poem London has a very regular rhyme, the rhyme scheme is on
alternate lines e.g. ab ab cd cd. Wordsworth's poem also has a very
regular rhyme to it this also seems to be on alternate lines.
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