Comparison of Upon Westminster Bridge and London

In major cities across the world, glamour, money, prestige and opportunity flourish. However, in many of these cities, this is only the lining which hides away the other side of the city. The two poems are “West Minster Bridge” by William Wordsworth, and “London”, by William Blake. These are two poems a are about the capital city of England, London. It shows the appearance in one, and the reality in the other. “London” shows the pain and the plight of the common man, whereas “Composed upon West Minster Bridge,” displays how the rich thrive and prosper, by creating a smoke screen to hide themselves from this poverty.

The first poem is some one who is visiting London for the first time, and has lived in the country. He has expectations of a grubby, smoky place, yet is greeted by a slightly diluted view of London. He is show a view of beauty, as the light is reflecting of buildings, and giving an impression of calm peace and tranquility.

” The beauty of the morning, silent, bare…”

However, as he says “morning”, we could come to the conclusion that as it is early, the city has not yet woken up to life, and Blake is seeing the naked; the inhabitants which make it the thriving city it is have not risen from the beds, to bring the city out of its sleep.

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The second poem is the total opposite of the colorful and tranquil city that Wordsworth portrays. Blake, an inhabitant of London all of his life, know the truth about the city form hand on experience, the poverty and the suffering which happens there, He describes with lots of imagery the plight that the working class people face.

” I wander through each chartered street,

Near where the chartered Thames does flow…”

This sentence not only cast an image of silence and cold, but tells us of how their plight is made worse by the rich extorting as much money as possibly from those who cannot afford to give it. This is emphasized by the way Blake writes the sentence, using the word “chartered”. This means that to use it you have to pay, and hence the poor are thrown on to a downward spiral of debt, to add to their problems

Another difference between the two poems is the way that they write about London. In poem two, he has gone looking for poverty, and all that comes with it; Whereas in poem one, the poet has gone to a fairly prestigious part of London, and has found a sign of beauty, and hence he has been “disallowed” to look at the poverty. However, the way he describes London could also have some thing to do with his up bringing in the country. He may well have seen beggars, tramps, poverty and suffering, but because he ahs never experienced this he could pass it of as something else. Another part of this is the way that he compares the building that he sees on the London sky line, to geographical features.

Another comparison is the way the two writers set the poem out, in as style representative of that they are writing about. In the second poem, it is set out in paragraphs, as if there was lots more stories to tell. However, in Poem one, it is one big story, as if it was one big thing, with no splits, one whole of thing of beauty and tranquility.

One thing which is the same between the two poems is that they are both exaggerated, not reality. Instead, together they form a fairly realistic and honest view. There is poverty in the city, and there is wealth, yet not to the proportions they suggest.

I believe that the target audiences between these two poems are different also. Poem two is aimed at the rich society of the town, to try and get the rich to do something about the poverty. This is show by the language and the setup of the poem. However, it show s a glorious story of beauty, wealth and opportunity. From this, I believe it is aimed at the poor, who are looking for work, and perhaps London is the place for them to change their life around.

Both the poems use graphic description, to create an image in our mind, which is that of what they want us to think. One of a beautifully tranquil place, the other shows a cruel cold and bitter place.

Both the poets use literary devices, for the main purpose of adding effect and make the poems both more poetically intense. In poem one,

” This city doth like a garment wear.”

He uses personification to not only emphasize the beauty of nature, but to make the poem more poetically intense.

In poem 2

“but throu’ midnight streets I hear,

How the youthful harlots cure,

Blasts the new born infants tear,

And plights with plagues the marriage hurse”

This paragraph describes how a you prostitute ( a harlot) is angry over a unwanted pregnancy, which is consuming her money which she so desperately needs. Also, Blake uses an oxymoron to show us just how bad the situation is for the poor in London; it is come to the stage that the plague has killed so many people that they are having to use a marriage carriage as hurse. Not only this, but these are the two happiest moments in a persons life, and Blake has combined them together to create an oxymoron.

In conclusion, I believe that my favorite poem out of them is Blake’s. This is because he is writing a poem to try and get the rich to comprehend and do something about the suffering, whereas Wordsworth is encouraging people to come to the cities, and fall into the inevitable poverty trap. I believe also that these two poems are still true of today’s society, maybe not with these problems, but with others. There are still people who are been persecuted by the rich to make them even richer.