Posted at 10.28.2018
I will make clear how two poems, London and The Chimney sweeper, both written by William Blake, are similar in the way they convey their views on London in the 1790's/1800's. London was published in Tunes of Experience in 1794 and it is mostly of the poems in Melodies of Experience to not have been related poem in Tracks of Innocence. Whereas The Chimney Sweeper was released in the Music of Innocence in 1789 and in the Tracks of Experience in 1794. The Songs of Innocence section contains poems which are positive in tone and celebrate love, youth and aspect. The Music o Experience poems are definitely intended to provide a contrast, and demonstrate the effects of modern life on people and characteristics. Dangerous professional conditions, child labour, prostitution and poverty are are just some of the issues Blake explores. Both poems explain the harsh conditions of life in London in the 1800's. Through the Industrial Revolution a large number of citizens kept the rural life and arrived to the top metropolises areas for the guaranteed jobs which making offered. London, Birmingham and Manchester all thought the consequences of the growing industrialisation. This influx of folks into the location centres made for rapid progress and success. However, there is also a very negative aspect as the crowds of personnel needed to be accommodated and looked after in a system which was not prepared to achieve this. The poems were written throughout the French Revolution which means this is the time when the poor, low class individuals were rebelling contrary to the rich citizens mainly because they have an improved lifestyle and they have good home to reside in. in 1789, the French revolted against the monarchy and aristocracy, using violence and murder to overthrow those in ability. Many found the French Trend as inspirational, a model for how normal, disadvantaged people could seize ability. Blake alludes to the Revolution in London, arguably suggesting that the experience of living there might encourage a trend on the avenues of the capital.
William Blake was a Christian, although he did not conform to any denomination within the Religious faith. He was born on 28 November 1757 and was raised as a Baptist however when he was committed, he took up to speed some ideas of the Sweden scientist, Swedenbourg who believed in the idea of God as a man. This idea is described in Blake's poem, the Divine Image, within the Sounds of Innocence, where he asserts that 'Where mercy love and pity dwell, there God is dwelling too'. William was on the advantage of poverty and this is one of the main reasons he didn't like others being in it too rather than having the ability to enjoy their life. He was also against prostitution and both his poems talk about this as well as poverty.
The poem London is presented like a melody, as there is a rigid ABAB rhyme structure in each one of the four stanzas. The four stanzas offer a glimpse of different facets of London, almost like snapshots seen by the presenter during his 'wander thro' the roadways'. The poem is filled with enjambment which makes the reader continue to the next series or stanza. This is done to make it appear as though the poem is being spoken for you which someone is really speaking right to an audience. This poem is written in first person which is omniscient in the viewpoint; the narrator is aware of the subject's thoughts and dreams.
'I wander thro' each charter'd street.
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe. '
In the first stanza it has been sarcasm that Blake explains the sights he sees as he strolls through London. The opening of the poem shows the narrator wandering through 'each charter'd neighborhood' of London down the 'charter'd Thames'. The word 'charter'd' stresses Blake anger at the political issues and his emotions towards the upper class and just how they acted. Chartered means carefully supervised and planned or controlled just as that Blake advises London, the River Thames and the individuals were like. The use of this word is repeated to highlight the ironic point that the roadways, and the river itself, are privately owned. It indicates the controlling mother nature of top of the class merchants, entrepreneurs or some of the aristocrats were busy collecting their fortunes and pushing the others into arrears, thus transferring wealth from the majority to the minority.
A charter is also a document which is issued by the King or Queen or other expert which pieces out the protection under the law and privileges of the people or assistance. Blake's friend Thomas Paine explained 'It is a perversion of term to state, that a charter gives privileges. It runs in the contrary manner, taking privileges away'.
The poem targets the communal and political history of London and highlights the differences between the classes. The folks of London are referred to as being vulnerable and packed with 'woe' as the facial skin reveals the marks. Blake uses repetition for the term 'grades' which is emphatic and again stresses the melancholy and misery that they need to be heading trough. There exists biblical sense at the job here as the refined transfer from 'draw' used as a verb in line 3 to a noun in-line 4 binds the narrator to those he sees, exhibiting that he is not a disinterested observer, but one of the victims is himself. He uses the effect caesura on the previous line so you pause if you are reading and this creates focus on the latter parts of the stanza.
'When my mother died I had been very young,
And my father sold while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry "'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!"
So your chimneys I sweep and in soot I sleep
There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head,
That curled such as a lamb's backside, was shaved: therefore i said,
"Hush, Tom! Never mind it, for whenever your head's bare,
You know that the soot cannot ruin your white mane. "'
The poem Chimney Sweeper is split up into 6 stanzas and has an AABB rhyme scheme. The lines produce an anapaestic lilt to the rhythm employed. This gives the impression that it is a happy poem which we past due find out that it's not. The idea of view in this poem is a child who is a chimney sweeper and it is written in third person.
In the first two lines, Blake offers us an image of an anguished child by stating that his 'Daddy sold' him when he was young and could not even 'cry "weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!". 'Weep !' is the child's look at at stating 'sweep!', that was the chimney sweepers street cry. This part implies that the children have a very positive lifestyle and do not fear fatality. Blake's vagueness for 'very young' is a lot less effective than declaring 'three years old' or 'only two', so Blake appears to want the Chimney Sweeper not to look for sympathy, he'd somewhat tell it like it is, from his point of view. Blake allows us to see how the children feel and that a personal damage will you need to be a shrug of small soot covered shoulders and this is a tough reflection on population and its morals at that time. The sweeper certainly doesn't not feel sorry for him do it yourself and this contrasts with what he feels about 'little Tom Dacre' or the beauty if his locks and the reference to the 'lambs rear'. The lamb symbolises innocence and is also a biblical sacrifice in the Bible and offerings were meant to prevent bad things from going on and this can be an interesting word used by Blake.
The first instance of colour is mentioned in-line 8 'you know that the soot cannot ruin your white locks'. This brand introduces the situation that is happening in the poem, that the chimney sweepers and Tom Dacre is now filthy due to soot on the chimney. It could also be considered that the work of sweeping is taunting 'Tom'. The black soot is dirty and is polluting the chimney sweepers clean white locks and the white is ranking for purity of the child.
'In every cry of every Man,
In every Infant's cry of dread,
In every speech, atlanta divorce attorneys ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I listen to.
How the Chimney-sweeper's cry
Every black'ning Chapel appalls;
And the hapless Soldier's sigh
Runs in blood vessels down Palace wall space. '
In the next verse, the fact that many people are suffering is emphasized by the pounding rhythm, stressing the word 'every', five times. This stresses the feelings to be trapped and imprisoned. This stanza is full of repetition and due to tightness of the poem; it stresses the thoughts of entrapment. Through their silence, he can still notice what they want to say but cannot speak for the kids due to fear of power. The general aftereffect of this verse enacts the narration helplessness. The letter 'I' will not appear before last line on this verse and is intended to seem as though he has been confused by the tones of human fighting and is not able to block the audio out. He uses the word 'ban' which is quite clear in its interpretation and shows how people were unable to dwelling address their criticisms on how the country was being governed. The sense of imprisonment is made absolutely clear in the term 'head forg'd manacles' which generally is steel restraining cuffs which details the individuals who are enduring and their feelings are imprisoned in their own imagination.
The firmness anger and criticism develops in the 3rd stanza as if it is a long list of accusations which gathers momentum. The verse commences as though in mid sentence which also accumulates the speed of this verse. For Blake properties, especially churches often symbolised confinement, limitation and failure. In this stanza 'the chimney sweepers cry every blackening church appals' offer an association which shows the speakers attitude. The amount of money is spent on churches while the children reside in poverty, forced to clean chimneys - the soot that blackens the church surfaces. To Blake, this makes a mockery of the love and care and attention that should characterise the Religious religion. The 'blackening' of the cathedral surfaces are also from the going of 'blood vessels down Palace surfaces' - a definite mention of the French Revolution. Blake is perhaps saying that, unless conditions change, the people will be required to rebel.
'And so he was quiet; which very night,
As Tom was a-sleeping, he had such a view, -
That a large number of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack,
Were most of them locked up in coffins of dark-colored.
And by came an angel who got a excellent key,
And he opened the coffins and set all of them free;
Then down a green plain leaping, laughing, they run,
And wash in a river, and glow in sunlight. '
In the 3rd verse Tom dreams of other chimney sweepers being locked up in 'coffins of african american' which is symbolic of the lives that the sweepers resided, being poor outcasts in a modern culture while having stained unwashed skin and often disfigured bodies.
In the fourth verse the 'Angel' comes and packages then free. This opening of the coffins is meant to symbolise a sense of innocence and being clear of an oppressive lifestyle hence why this poem is within Songs of Innocence. The rhythmic results also contributes their part to the poem as they are 'leaping, laughing'. Blake uses the result of alliteration showing the energeticness o the children and what they designed to be doing, not sweeping chimneys. He also uses alliteration of the 'sh' audio in 'And rinse in a river and glimmer in the sunlight' mainly to stress the linkage between the two activities.
'But most, thro' midnight streets I hear
How the fresh Harlot's curse
Blasts the new blessed Infant's rip,
And blights with plagues the Matrimony hearse. '
In this final verse for London Blake assumes a more intimidating tone as he discusses the young female who is at only at 'midnight' walking on the avenues. The young female at times of poverty needed to holiday resort to prostitution mainly due to oppression and Blake can hear their curses for what they are about to be put through. She's then been robbed of the opportunity to love her baby, because it is the result of her job and for that reason she gets continuing punishment and fighting. Because she suffers misery, her new created child, like her, will suffer and move its misery onto further years. Her grief influences the new blessed 'infant child' and he uses powerful words like 'blasts' which is a huge contrast to the placidness you might use to describe a new created child. In contrast a rich female engaged and getting married to a rich man will be blighted by this curse and her carriage might turn out to be a hearse. Blake is pointing a finger at the wealthy men who use the services of prostitutes and then get committed and pass on the condition venereal to their wives. He uses the term 'plagues' to indicate the goings on of the rich and how their actions have an effect on the lives of most innocent people involved. 'Matrimony hearse' is a fantastic powerful key phrase as the two words are associated oxymoronically with the concept of a joyous productive marriage broken by its grim stopping, death caused by a STD. The phrase also ridicules the Bourgeois relationships (that have been common then) where you weren't looked down upon if you'd sex before relationship. Which means this verse is actually implying that relationship has become the funeral of love, the death of liberty.
'Then naked and white, all their bags left out,
They rise after clouds and sport in the blowing wind;
And the angel informed Tom, if he'd be a good young man,
He'd have God for his father, rather than want joy.
And so Tom awoke; and we rose at night,
And got with this totes and our brushes to work.
Though the morning was frosty, Tom was happy and warm;
So if all do their responsibility they want not fear damage. '
The mention of being white and the luggage being left behind represents an escape out of this oppression like the soot stained skins and the handbags of tools they take day by day. People may interpret that this aspiration as the coffins are representing their literal fatalities, the chimney sweeps are not clear of this oppression until their afterlife. When the angel explains to Tom that 'if he'd be considered a good son, he'd have God for his daddy and never want enjoyment' he gives hope to Tom and says that if he's good young man and does his job, God will be his daddy and bless him in his next life. Tom also is utilized to demonstrate another point. He is originally frightened but later feels 'happy and warm'. This demonstrates you can experience a certain degree of pleasure even in the most severe of situations.
So to summarize, the meaning for London Blake tried out to give was a poem which implies that the immediate urbanisation in Britain at that time was a dangerous make. Children are no longer absolve to enjoy childhood; instead they will work in dangerous conditions. Charters restrict freedom, ultimately resulting in the restriction of thinking. So this poem is pessimistic, it is without expect the near future.
Similarly for the Chimney Sweeper, the theme for this poem is along the lines of the idea that there surely is light at the end of the tunnel if you just keep going, you will be in a much better place. A good example of this theme is shown through the collection 'And the angel informed Tom, if he'd be considered a good boy, he'd have God for his daddy rather than want enjoyment'.
Blake was a ground-breaking poet who is much more popular now than he was in his own time. Blake was writing things which were considered very radical for example, criticising relationship and writing very openly against poverty, prostitution and loss of life. Most upper class people wanted these things covered away. His take on this was quite strong and the reason it's been accepted now is because he has written 173 poems which includes captivated the world and will accomplish that for evermore.