Compare London by William Blake and Composed upon Westminster Bridge,September 3rd 1802 by William Wordsworth.
As a part of my coursework for GCSE English, I will be comparing twopoems written about London in nineteenth century. The two poems I havechosen to write about are: ‘London’ by William Blake and ‘Composedupon Westminster Bridge, September 3rd 1802’ by William Wordsworth.Both poems give their own, different accounts of London at around thesame period. One is written with a happy and joyous mood and the othera completely opposite one – a dull and grim mood, which is given byBlake.
Starting with William Blake’s background as a poet, I researched thathe had a very eventful lifetime, which perhaps influenced his poems.For example, Blake was very religious. He lived by the bible and basedsome of his paintings (as Blake was also an artist) of the book ofRevelation, such as his work “The Red Dragon and the Woman of theSun”. It is also said that he had been visited by angels at a point inhis life. Is this to prove that he was somewhat deranged or is it hisimagination? Blake’s poem ‘London’ describes a London where everythinghas rules or boundaries. We can see this where Blake tells us of the’charter’d street’ and the ‘chartered Thames’. We can see the connectionof this stanza and the fact that rules were pinning every body down, withthe word chartered. Chartered means something is on the map, almost as ifit is owned, owned by the king, perhaps. Blake is communicating thefact that there is a stamp of ownership on everything from a smallstreet to the constricted Thames, which being natural, makes the pointmore forcefully. It affects the way people live, work and play -people …
…). Not forgetting, finally the fact that there arestill prostitutes (Blake) in the city. Furthermore, London isexpanding out to the natural part of England, the rural area, whereall the fields that Wordsworth is talking about are being consumed bythe wave of concrete and tarmac of the modern city of London as weknow it today. Additionally, the smog that Blake describes in his poemis not present anymore – of course there is the pollution from thecars of today, so we could assume that to be a connection to Blake’sdescription. That is why I feel the London as we know it today fits inwith Blake’s portrayal as well as Wordsworth’s, but in the end, thereason that London is such a beautiful city (in my point of view) isbecause there is an effort to save some greenery in the city, tobalance the conurbation in aspects of both human and natural elements.