William Blake, however, starts his poem in a very negative light, I wander through each chartered street Blake paints a completely opposite picture of London as shown in this quote. He uses words such as chartered, implying that London, in those days, was bound tightly by rules and regulations. We can also see here that William Blake is a political thinker as he obviously doesnt think much of the laws that the Londoners were bound by. Wordsworth carries on praising the beauty and sanctity of London in his poem by saying, Dull would he be of soul who could pass by a sight so touching in its majesty
Wordsworth again praises London by making it seem a sight that no soul could by pass without seeing its majesty. By using words like majesty, Wordsworth is trying to imply a sense of royalty attached to London. Another word, touching, implies further beauty, also creating a sense of heartfelt emotion, connected to the idea of something touching ones heart. In contrast to this Blake carries on his poem negatively, Near where the chartered Thames does flow Blake carries on his concept of London being a rule-bound city by saying that the river Thames is a place also bound by the charters.
The river Thames in those days was used mainly for the transport of goods and such along the river, so laws were implemented governing the control of ships. Wordsworth goes further into his poem by saying, The city now doth like a garment; wear the beauty of the morning: Wordsworth uses another personified phrase here by implying that the city like a human wears the beauty of the morning. We can also see that Wordsworth wrote his poem in the morning which is a time that the usual hustle of people going to work; the smoke from the chimneys and the boats in the Thames would not be there.
The presence of such things would obviously take the peace and tranquillity away from such a beautiful and calm moment. Blake, however, carries on his negativity of London by saying, And mark in every face I meet, Marks of weakness, marks of woe We can see from this quote that William Blake sees everyone in society as sad, weak, and dismal. We can also see that Blake of repetition to emphasise his point. The word mark is emphasised here as it is repeated and refers to both observing and physical marks. Further on in his poem, William Blake continues to describe the beauty of London,All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Wordsworth uses clean adjectives and imagery such as smokeless air. He uses this type of language to maintain the calm and serene image of London. The word smokeless means that basically the air is clean and free from pollution. He also uses words such as bright and glittering to help the reader imagine how beautiful and serene the sky must have looked.
Blake carries on his poem by describing the population, In every cry of every man, In every infants cry of fear,In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forged manacles I hear. In this verse, Blake is suggesting that the people of London live in fear and misery. The above phrases suggest that everyone is upset and as a result of this grief are crying. Blake also uses the technique of repetition on the word every to emphasise the idea that every man in London is suffering. Also, Blake talks about mind forged manacles. He tries to create a picture of a whole society in chains and the tightness of the poems structure, emphasise the feeling of utter imprisonment.
The sense of imprisonment is made absolutely plain in the phrase, Mind forged manacles. In a literal sense, manacles are a pair of metal cuffs made by men to restrain people by physical force. But in this case the manacles are mind forged and the people are prisoned mentally and more in their mind rather than physical imprisonment. In specific, the fears of adults as well as children are causing stress and worry on everybodys mind and body, almost creating a feel of mental capture. William Wordsworth writes further, Never did sun more beautifully steep.
In his first splendour, valley, rock or hill: Wordsworth paints a bright and vivid image by using positive language. The above phrase basically means; never did the sun shine more beautifully than it shone upon London that day. Wordsworth uses positive language to create an encouraging outlook on London. Wordsworth also personifies the image of the sun by referring to it as he. Blake moves deeper into his poem by saying, How the chimney-sweepers cry Every blackening church appalls; And the hapless soldiers sigh Runs in blood down in palace walls.
From here we lose the sight of the narrator as begins to discuss his infuriated views on two specific types of social classes; the chimney sweepers and the soldiers. The poet of this poem uses certain language to describe the chimney sweepers. He uses words such as cry in repetition throughout the poem to build up the whole atmosphere as being depressing. Also, the chimney sweeper was a well known and pitied part of society in Blakes time. This is because the chimney sweeper had the most difficult job in society which was not particularly safe and clean.
In this stanza Blake also criticises the church of being corrupt and turning a blind eye to the troubles of society. He uses words such as appalls which means disgust to describe his feelings towards the church. He also writes that the sweep blackens the church in literal terms by making the church black in soot but also in the sense that the churchs reputation is decreasing rapidly due to its brutal, calculating, and child exploiting habits. The poet also talks about the soldiers. Blake uses a metaphor to explain the soldiers sigh.
The soldiers, sighing in either death or fear, metaphorically stain the palace with their blood just as the chimney sweepers soot and cry blackened the church. The soldiers who, although are part of the armed state, are hapless victims. A soldiers job in Blakes time was a terrible job which involved enforcing violent discipline and punishment. Blake clearly holds the palace responsible for the unfortunate lives of the soldiers In contrast to this William Wordsworth continues his poem by saying, The river glideth at his own sweet will.
Here we can see that Wordsworth has used personification again to describe the flow of the river. He talks about the river as if it is in charge of its own movement creating the impression of pure freedom, quite the opposite of Blakes chartered Thames which implies restriction and repression. Wordsworth ends his poem by praising London, Dear God! The very houses seem asleep: And all that mighty heart is lying still! It is clear by now that personification is a preferred stylistic technique of Wordsworths. He personifies the houses as being asleep.
Like humans, when some one is asleep he is in a complete state of calm and tranquil, which is the overall image that Wordsworth is trying to create in his poem. Furthermore, Wordsworth is generally amazed at this as is shown when he says Dear God! This implies an exclamation of excitement, happiness and even thanksgiving. The exclamation mark stops the line too, giving the exclamation further impact. On the next line we can see Wordsworth referring to London as the heart of England and the outer world too. He uses personification again to personify the heart of England by saying that it is lying still.
As we know, a city cannot lay still as the human heart can. He likes the city of London lying still. When a heart is lying still, it paints a gloomy picture of death but William Wordsworth appreciates this state of stillness, leading us to believe that he does not like the hustle and bustle of cities and rather prefers peace. He does not like the city for what it is meant to be. This emphasises the poets love for nature. William Blake how ever ends his poem in a very depressing tone, But most through midnight streets I hear How the youthful harlots curse Blasts the newborn infants cry And blights with plague the marriage hearse.
In the above stanza, we understand that midnight has fallen. We also come to know of the problems families go through; this in it self describes the break down of the reproductive system of society itself. These problems occur due to young prostitutes rendering men unfaithful to their wives. The harlot is a young sufferer just like the chimney sweepers. She has been deprived of the chance to love her newborn baby because it is a result of dishonesty rather than love. She may also pass her misery on to the child, and that child, like her may one day pass her misfortune unto further generations.
She may also pass the disease to the unfaithful husband, who will then unavoidably pass any infection onto their own real wives. Just Like the phrase, mind-forged manacles, Marriage hearse is an effective phrase, full of meaning: the two words contradict each other, the idea of a happy, long marriage forgotten about by its grim reality, the possibility of a gloomy death by STDs. The phrase also shows all the hypocrisy in middle class marriage, the husband occasionally unfaithful to his wife, and suggests the corruption of the married state.