A Comparison of London by William Blake, and Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 by William Wordsworth
Both "London" by William Blake, and "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge,
September 3, 1802" by William Wordsworth are written about London, and
were written within ten years of each other, but both have contrasting
views of what they believe London is like. They express their ideas by
using different poem styles and techniques. They are both very
effective and create vivid images in the reader's mind.
"London" has a strong rhythm, which stresses the last word of each
line. This emphasis affects the way in which the poem is read, and
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The poem tells the reader that "every" person in London is affected.
This repetition is a very effective way of emphasizing the fact that
all are affected by London and none are excused. To emphasize this
further this, the speaker says "every man" and "every infant". This
shows that there is no difference to how people feel, whether they are
old or young.
This repletion is also used for another purpose. In the second stanza
"every" is repeated on every line apart from the last. This makes this
line stand out, as it is the main theme of the poem. The seven lines
before it are the foundation of this point, and the eight after are
The citizens are shown to be trapped in London by "mind-forged
manacles". They are trapped in their own minds, and they have made the
problems for themselves, so cannot escape it.
The reader is also made to feel sorry for the people in London. The
speaker tells you of the "infant's cry of fear" which makes you
believe that something is wrong in the city, as this is not meant to
The images in the poem are mostly those of shock and darkness. The
poem London describes many dark and forbidding images like plagues,
blood, death, tears, blackening and a hearse. Also in the last stanza
the word "midnight" is used to describe the streets at night. This is
when everything is in greatest darkness, so could show ignorance,
impurity or even death. All of these contribute to the reader's view
of London, as a bad place to live, and make them feel sorry for those
who do live there.
In the next stanza the speaker starts to name groups of people. These
may seem as if they are singling out certain people, but they could
actually just be using examples to show everybody in the city. For
example the "chimney-sweeper" could have been used to illustrate the
vicious use of child labour in general, and how it is wrong. The
"soldier" groups together all the people who have given their life,
either literally or figuratively to serve the State. In the last
stanza the "harlot" is also used to show those who have suffered as a
result of mass capitalism, and those who believe money is God. This is
illustrated further in the first stanza as the Thames is said to be
"chartered", which could mean it is used for money.
Another example of how the speaker could mean two things is when the
"blackening church" is mentioned. It could be taken literally, so it
would mean it was literally being blackened as a result of the filthy
surroundings, or it could be thought as as a way of saying that it is
black because of the act of evil because they are ignoring what is
This is shown further when the speaker says it "appals". This could
mean that the church is truly horrified, or pretends to be. But this
also means the act of casting a...