Comparing "London" (William Blake) and "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3rd, 1802" (William Wordsworth)

Essay by Phinexis September 2006

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William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and William Blake (1757-1827) were both romantic poets. Romanticism was an artistic and intellectual movement that originated in the late 18th Century. Blake and Wordsworth tended to write about the same things such as nature, people and structures, such as cities like London. Emotions also played a big part in romantic poems. Often poets would be inspired by a simple view and would write a masterpiece about it. For example, Wordsworth lived in the Lake District for most of his life and this inspired many of his poems.

Romanticism is thought to have started in Germany and England in 1770s and by the early 1800s it had spread through most of Europe. Romanticism spread westward quickly and was greatly influenced by music and for many years it was used in concert halls. Today it is known as neoromanticism and is used in many things without the public even knowing.

Even the soundtrack from Star Wars was based on the style of romanticism.

Both poems are about London, but based around two very different opinions. Blake's poem describes London as hell on Earth, while Wordsworth's praises London as heaven on Earth. To more contrasting poems have never been written.

In "London" the poem is written in the first person account (this could be Blake). The person notices the terrible living conditions and suffering life of Londoners who live by the Thames. The use of detracting language (weakness, hapless) drives his feelings of sympathy for the people. "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802" however is full of praise for London, but does not describe the people of London as it is written in the morning before the city has awoken for a new day. It describes the landscape and architecture of London as "majestic, bright and...