Comparative Study Essay

Pre-1914 Poetry: Comparative Survey

Compare the ways in which the metropolis is presented in William Blake ‘s ‘London ‘ ( 1794 ) and William Wordsworth ‘s ‘Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 ‘ .

In your response you should see:
• The techniques that the poets use to convey their feelings of the metropolis.
• The manner ( s ) in which the poets include mentions to societal, political and personal concerns and the extent to which the verse forms are shaped by these.

By 1800, London was the biggest metropolis in the universe, with a population of over one million. It was a planetary Centre of power and imperial glorification, set against a background of revolution. Although William Wordsworth ‘s ‘Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 ‘ and William Blake ‘s ‘London ‘ ( 1794 ) both concern the metropolis of London and were written in the same period, they present the metropolis in really different ways. ‘Westminster Bridge ‘ is in jubilation of the metropolis ‘s stateliness and is seldom acrimonious, Wordsworth merely of all time writes slightingly of its citizens. In ‘London ‘ nevertheless, Blake who was himself a occupant of London, presents the metropolis as a topographic point creeping with corruptness and rife with disease. In this essay I will research the construction, signifier and scene of the verse forms, the verse forms ‘ chief subjects, linguistic communication and imagination, how the poems portray people and society in London and the sights and sounds of the metropolis, in order to compare in depth the different ways in which the metropolis is presented.

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The verse form ‘London ‘ comprises four quatrain stanzas, written in iambic tetrameter. Each stanza offers a position of assorted facets of the metropolis as seen by the storyteller on his “wander” ( line 1 ) . ‘Westminster Bridge ‘ is an Italian sonnet, which is a individual fourteen-line stanza. It is written in iambic pentameter. Traditionally, the sonnet signifier is associated with love verse forms, and so ‘Westminster Bridge ‘ could fall under this categorization. The verse form is metaphorically divided into two parts, an eight-line octave and a six-line six. It is conventional for the octave to offer the description or job and the six the declaration. In ‘Westminster Bridge ‘ , Wordsworth uses the octave to detail the scene laid out before him, “Ships, towers, domes, theaters, and temples lie” ( line 6 ) , and the six to depict his emotions, “Ne’er saw I, ne’er felt, a composure so deep! ” ( line 11 ) . ‘London ‘ was published in ‘Songs of Experience ‘ , one of Blake ‘s anthologies. As the anthology ‘s rubric suggests, ‘London ‘ represents Blake ‘s personal experience, and so the first individual dominates, “I wander through each chartered street” ( line 1 ) . This reinforces that the issues presented in ‘London ‘ are of personal concern to Blake. Similarly, ‘Westminster Bridge ‘ is written in the first individual, as it is a personal experience being composed by Wordsworth at the really minute that he beholds the described scene. However, it does non rule the verse form to the same extent as it does ‘London ‘ . Wordsworth besides makes usage of the 3rd individual, “The river glideth at his ain sweet will” ( line 12 ) . He does this as he describes his emotions in order to do clear that the experience manifests itself as unfastened to all who would care to detect it, instead than utilizing the instead selfish option, “The river glideth at my ain sweet will” . The rhyme strategy of ‘London ‘ is ABAB CDCD EFEF GHGH, for illustration “street, flow, meet, woe” ( stanza 1 ) . This conveys a sense of control, authorization and humdrum, which is besides echoed in the verse form ‘s linguistic communication. The metre is seldom interrupted, the verse form continues with one unfavorable judgment and disclosure after another in order to underscore the extent and figure of the jobs that exist, non desiring to brood on any one point as if handling them with disgust. ‘Westminster Bridge ‘ conforms slackly to the ABBAABBACDCDCD rhyme strategy of the Italian sonnet. The beat is more frequently interrupted, with assortment of punctuation and enjambment making alterations in the flow. “Dear God! the really houses seem asleep ; ” ( line 13 ) , is an illustration of a caesura which enhances this minute of epiphany in which Wordsworth realises that the tranquility of the scene is such that the even the houses appear to be kiping. Alternatively, this exclaiming could literally be Wordsworth showing his gratefulness to God for the scene. In analyzing an infusion from Wordsworth ‘s ‘The Prelude ‘ , I believe it is reasonable to presume that the exclaiming ‘Dear God! ‘ is a religious reaction because he uses “guardian saints” ( line 179 ) in a simile depicting foreparts of houses in London. Indeed, Wordsworth was a spiritual adult male who said in 1812 that he was “willing to cast his blood for the Church of England” . It could besides be an reverberation of line 2, “Dull would he be of psyche who could go through by” , a unfavorable judgment of those who are asleep and non recognizing the true luster that the metropolis can offer. Aside, it is besides really of import to see the clip scene of the verse forms as it has a direct influence on how the metropolis is portrayed. As ‘London ‘ is set at midnight, the image of a dark, seamy London is carried through, “midnight streets” ( line 13 ) , which gives an image of the back streets where unchecked or promiscuous activities may take topographic point. ‘London ‘ is non capturing a peculiar minute in clip but more of a journey through life, “In every call of every adult male / In every baby ‘s call of fear” ( lines 5-6 ) . This is so because it demonstrates non merely enduring across the demographics of London, but besides across clip. The thought of a journey through clip is besides illustrated in the original engraving of the verse form, which shows a immature male child pleading with a halt old adult male. ‘Westminster Bridge ‘ by contrast gaining controls a individual minute in clip on September 2nd 1802 and is set during the early forenoon, at dawn, “The beauty of the morning” ( line 5 ) . This allows Wordsworth to see the metropolis rather literally in its best visible radiation, “Never did the Sun more attractively steep” ( line 9 ) , giving the greatest chance for the synthesis of nature and the metropolis.

Political and societal issues, shape the verse forms to a great extent, peculiarly ‘London ‘ . Blake focuses rather intently on political issues, specifically in the 3rd stanza. “Every melanizing church appalls, ” ( line 10 ) refers to the industrial revolution. This line high spots Blake ‘s hardship toward the revolution. Blake grew up in London and so this might be the ground for his rejection of the alteration in society, but I find the illustration he gives peculiarly interesting because he was noted as being a dissident, rejecting the Church of England, yet he highlights how the traditional faith of the state is being damaged by industry. Alternatively it may mention to his disgust at the infrequent cleaning of the metropolis, which has alternatively been left to die and devolve. The mere association of the church with corruptness is incongruous. Blake besides attacks the monarchy in stanza three, “And the hapless soldier ‘s sigh / Runs in blood down Palace walls” ( lines 11-12 ) . The phrase “hapless soldier” refers to one of many doomed soldiers who were sent off by the state to pay war, frequently against their will and without any attention being given to them for their problems. Despite supplying an invaluble service in protecting the state, the monarchy saw soldiers as mere pawns in the ‘game ‘ of war, insignificant, identical and easy replaced. The other thing noted to “run in blood down castle walls” is the “chimney-sweeper ‘s cry” , which is likewise ignored by the monarchy. Blake peculiarly despised the slave trade and so he felt strongly about such affairs non being address by the state ‘s leaders. “Palace” could every bit mention to the houses of parliament, with unfavorable judgment falling forthrightly on the shoulders of politicians instead than the monarchy. The unfavorable judgment of the Church and monarchy is a common subject in Blake ‘s verse forms, for illustration in ‘The Chimney Sweeper ‘ ( two ) from the same anthology in which ‘London ‘ was published, ‘Songs of Experience ‘ , Blake writes “And are gone to praise God & A ; his Priest & A ; King / Who make up a Eden of our misery” ( lines 11-12 ) . “And are gone” , refers to the parents of a chimney sweeper, who have abandoned him. The storyteller condemns God and the King for holding tried to laud his suffering being by false promises of a great life, which have non panned out. In the first stanza, he describes the streets and the river Thames as “chartered” ( lines 1 and 2 ) . The word chartered, which is repeated, likely refers to the sole and executive nature of the streets. Chartered literally means ‘having particular privileges ‘ , and so Blake is likely mentioning to the great figure of affluent concerns in London, earning money and turning net income, juxtaposed with the ‘weakness ‘ , ‘woe ‘ and poorness of those on the street. Wordsworth besides makes this contrast when he describes London in ‘The Prelude ‘ , “The wealth, the hustle and the avidity / The glistening chariots with their pampered steeds” , ( lines 161-162 ) and “The scavenger that begs with chapeau in hand” ( line 164 ) . ‘Charted ‘ may besides mention to the fact that the streets are good known and good trodden, mapped, charted. ‘Westminster Bridge ‘ makes go throughing mention to the industrial revolution, “All bright and glittering in the smokeless air” ( line 8 ) . This line conveys a sense of freshness and pureness with ‘smokeless ‘ suggesting that the forenoon air is free of the industrial pollution that is so evident during the twenty-four hours. Wordsworth ‘s position of the industrial revolution is really different to that of Blake because he acknowledges in this line how nature and adult male are able to co-exist in the metropolis. In the concluding line, “And all that mighty bosom is lying still! ” ( line 14 ) . Wordsworth refers to the British Empire, which by 1802 was at its extremum. London, being the UK ‘s capital, formed the ‘heart ‘ of the Empire in a political sense. This personification reinforces the thought that London formed a critical organ of the Empire ‘s ‘body ‘ , and so it is peculiarly noteworthy that Wordsworth describes London as lying still because it truly emphasises the tranquility of the scene. “Mighty heart” is besides a peculiarly effectual metaphor for a metropolis because it is a concentrated country of hustling activity during the twenty-four hours akin to a ‘machine ‘ . ‘Westminster Bridge ‘ is more molded by personal concerns instead than societal and political concerns.

In ‘London ‘ Blake describes the London set during the industrial revolution and the effects that it has had on society as people portion with tradition and go helpless. In stanza two the anaphora, “In every… In every… In every…” , acts to underscore the cosmopolitan nature of the agony and sorrow. One of the most dramatic metaphors in ‘London ‘ is “mind-forged manacles” ( line 8 ) . It refers to the societal limitations induced by life in the metropolis, vibrating with the verse form ‘s rhyme strategy. I find “mind-forged” to be particularly interesting because it suggests that these “manacles” do non in fact exist but are the cultivated in the heads of the people. Blake is proposing that the people of London crook to conform to the power and control of authorization, where this is non necessary. “mind-forged” seems to propose the corruption of the people ‘s power, attitudes of rebelliousness and non-conformity, possibly even stretching to suggestion of a dislocation of democracy and freedom of address. The phrase implies that the “manacles” , which are “shackles that consist of metal cringles that can be locked around the wrist” , have been imposed by some figure of authorization. The apposition of the “mind-forged” and “manacles” therefore conflates he who is suppressed and he who has acted to stamp down. Wordsworth gives peeking penetrations into what he thinks of the society in London, “Dull would he be of psyche who could go through by” ( line 2 ) . Interestingly this is one of the lone minutes in ‘Westminster Bridge ‘ that could be construed as critical or acrimonious, demoing disdain for anyone who does non appreciate the sight. Or possibly Wordsworth is rationalizing his overly emotional reaction, which could be interpreted as effeminate, by warranting that anyone who did n’t respond in this manner would be ‘dull ‘ . Magnifying what small insight Wordsworth gives into society in London with information from an infusion from Wordsworth ‘s ‘The Prelude ‘ , in which he describes his experience in London when he was 18, I feel that Wordsworth ‘s position of society in London is in understanding with that of Blake. “The eternal watercourse of work forces and traveling things” ( line 159 ) , implies loss of individuality in London, which compliments “manacles” in ‘London ‘ . Blake notes “marks of failing, Markss of woe” ( line 4 ) in “every face” he meets. The repeat of grade gives accent to the “weakness” and “woe” , Blake could hold rather easy chosen to utilize more diverse linguistic communication but the harsh repeated sound of “marks” truly enhances the image. “Marks” tends to propose that these are aberrances that have non ever existed but have late appeared as a consequence of alterations in London, the industrial revolution possibly. The last stanza bears a few really dramatic images that give farther penetration into people and society in London. “How the vernal prostitute ‘s curse” ( line 14 ) , refers to the rise of harlotry. It is peculiarly flooring to hear that it is a “youthful” prostitute, it appears that even the young persons of society have been corrupted and subverted, holding to turn to prostitution in order to rub a life in such despairing times. “curse” refers to the spread of venerable disease as a consequence of such activities. This “curse” is described as blaring “the newborn baby ‘s tear” and plaguing “with plagues the matrimony hearse” ( line 16 ) . The oxymoron “marriage hearse” , ends the verse form with a really strong image, starkly juxtaposing the appeal of matrimony with the hearse, used to transport a dead individual to the topographic point of entombment. Blake himself condemned the absurdness of matrimony without love and this is reflected in matrimony hearse because any relationship ensuing out of an brush with the “youthful harlot” would wish be a relationship without true love. Alternatively, “marriage hearse” , could mention to a societal limitation as “mind-forged manacles” does, that is to state that matrimony is as a adult male ‘s decease, one time he has committed to it he no longer has the same free will to make as he please. The strong plosive invariables of “but, blasts blights and plagues” emphasises the abrasiveness of what is being described.

Wordsworth utilizations rich descriptions of the sights and sounds of London. He is in great esteem of the beauty of London and starts the verse form with a greatest, inflated tone. “Earth has non anything to demo more fair” ( line 1 ) , proposing that this is the prototype of beauty on Earth. I find the simile, “The City now doth, like a garment, wear” ( line 4 ) , peculiarly interesting as it indicates the forenoon sky appears to environ the metropolis as a garment does a organic structure, be givening to propose that the tranquility of the forenoon is dissembling the true nature of the metropolis which is possibly less appealing. In ‘London ‘ Blake describes the inexorable sounds he hears in order to permeate the verse form with a temper of poignancy. For illustration in stanza two, “In every call of every adult male / In every baby ‘s call of fright / In every voice, in every ban” ( lines 5-7 ) , the repeat of call across the two coevalss is striking, and the pick of “infant” is peculiarly flooring. This thought can be found in Blake ‘s verse form ‘Infant Sorrow ‘ from ‘Songs of Experience ‘ which links closely with ‘London ‘ , “Into the unsafe universe I leapt / Helpless, naked, shrieking loud” ( lines 2-3 ) . “piping loud” corresponds with the calls of fright, “dangerous world” with thought that the agony is cosmopolitan in London. In ‘Westminster Bridge ‘ , Wordsworth celebrates the fantastic assortment of London by asyndeton, “Ships, towers, domes, theaters, and temples lie” ( line 6 ) . These images bring together the constituents of the Empire and assortment within London, with “ships” meaning trade, “towers” concern, “domes” St. Paul ‘s, an icon of London, “theatres” amusement, and “temples” faith. In ‘London ‘ nevertheless, Blake sees the same “marks” in every face, the same generic calls in every voice. As ‘Westminster Bridge ‘ is romantic poesy Wordsworth integrates nature and the metropolis because the rapprochement of adult male and nature is a cardinal dogma of Romanticism, as pioneered by Wordsworth himself. The characteristics listed in line 6 are described as lying “open unto the Fieldss and to the sky ; ” ( line 7 ) . This appropriation of the metropolis in a pastoral context refers to how the rural-urban peripheries of London would be more evident in 1802 because it was a smaller metropolis. Wordsworth is stating that the metropolis is in truth non so far removed from nature as some may believe and in fact they can co-exist in perfect harmoniousness. He besides highlights how adult male and nature harmonise, “The river glideth at his ain sweet will” ( line 12 ) , implies that the scene appears to conform to Wordsworth wants, fluxing past so gently in a manner that completes the scene as if merely to delight his ain wants. In contrast “Near where the charted Thames does flow” ( line 2 ) in ‘London ‘ , ravages the thought of the composure fluxing Thames by tie ining it with “chartered” , connoting that is over run by commercial use, to fulfill the greed of affluent metropolis business communities. In order to demo the extent to which Wordsworth feels positively about the metropolis, if “not anything to demo more fair” ( line 1 ) , was so non praise plenty, he compares the sight of the metropolis to things of nature, fostering the synthesis of nature and the metropolis. “Never did sun more attractively steep” ( line 9 ) , gives an image of the Sun glittering on the roofs of the edifices as it slowly rises over the cityscape, permeating and saturating it with natural visible radiation, and is enhanced by the sibilance of “sun” and “steep ” . In the line, “In his first luster, vale, stone, or hill ; / Ne’er saw I, ne’er felt, a composure so deep! ” ( line 10 ) , Wordsworth straight compares the cityscape with vales, stones and hills but concludes that he has ne’er felt so touched and calmed by any of these scenes so much as he is by the composure of the metropolis. This is peculiarly noteworthy bearing in head that Wordsworth lived in the countryside and enjoyed nature, yet finds the conflation of the metropolis and nature to be more beautiful than any purely natural experience. However, the thought that this is fugitive minute, “The metropolis now doth” ( line 4 ) , reminds us that despite the fact that it looks good at this minute, it will non last. This kind of naive look of joy is seen in Blake ‘s verse form ‘Infant Joy ‘ , from ‘Songs of Innocence ‘ . “Sweet joy befall thee” ( line 12 ) , is the grownup ‘s hope for the kid ‘s wish for joy to be fulfilled but in “befall” there is a inexorable recognition of how such joy will likely non be achieved.

In decision I find William Wordsworth ‘s ‘Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 ‘ and William Blake ‘s ‘London ‘ to present London in really different ways. ‘Westminster Bridge ‘ is encomiastic, a love verse form to the City with a tone of jubilance and infatuation with the beauty of the scene that befalls him. The manner in which it appropriates London in a pastoral context and integrates the metropolis and nature is a bracing vantage point sing the political and societal issues of the clip. ‘London ‘ nevertheless appears to depict an wholly different London to Wordsworth because of Blake ‘s focal point on political issues. Overall, I find Blake ‘s vision to be the most convincing because of how the verse form is written as a first individual experience by a citizen of London who is able to most suitably empathise with people confronting hardship and compare how the metropolis has changed over clip instead than capturing a individual minute as Wordsworth does. The verse forms are both shaped by political and societal concerns but Blake ‘s ‘London ‘ draws on societal and political issues much more than ‘Westminster Bridge ‘ , peculiarly concentrating on the industrial revolution ‘s impact on society in London, whereas merely go throughing mentions are made in ‘Westminster Bridge ‘ which is shaped to a much greater extent by personal emotional concerns of the minute. These personal concerns are fliting and ephemeral because once the garment of the forenoon has been hung up, the underlying jobs become evident one time once more.


“Wordsworth was a spiritual adult male who said in 1812 that he was “willing to cast his blood for the Church of England”” , hypertext transfer protocol: //

Dictionary definition of ‘manacles ‘ , hypertext transfer protocol: //

“the rapprochement of adult male and nature is a cardinal dogma of Romanticism, as pioneered by Wordsworth himself” , hypertext transfer protocol: //


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