Compare and contrast the way London is presented in a selection of nineteenth century poems we have studied.

I will be discussing three poems that support the negative side of London, and they will start with the dramatic poem called ‘London’ then, after that it will be a similar poem called a ‘A Dead Harvest In Kensington Gardens’. Lastly I will be making a reference to the poem called ‘Symphony in Yellow’. All of these poems that comment about London, give either a positive or negative view on it. It is really surprising that the poems give a very beautiful and modern London a bad and negative view. This suggests that the writer is giving his own opinion or view on ‘London’.

‘London’. This poem is 4�4 line stanzas with a regular rhyme scheme. This poem shows a negative side of London. This negative view is described by repetition through out the poem, e.g. ‘cry’, ‘marks’, (used in triples), ‘chartered, (official document giving certain right to person/organization). The pace of this is fast. The city/London is presented as a really bad and influenced city that every man and child hates, there is a lot of evidence to support this point such as, ‘in every cry of every man, in every infant’s cry of fear, in every voice, in every ban, the mind-forged manacles is hear’. The writer talks about all the negative emotions which he sees in the people on the street. This repetition gives a really bad impression of London to the reader which is what the writer is actually getting across.

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Poem two is called ‘A Dead Harvest in Kensington Gardens’. This poem compares the countryside to the town (countryside versus town). The town is described as a bad place, adding on the poem is really giving a bad impression as it describes the dead silence there. ‘Along the graceless grass of town,’ this implies that the grass in the countryside has grace and therefore the grass in the town lacks grace. Further on, the evidence to support this is, ‘bosom nor barn is filled with these’, (no town people are in the countryside). This poem is not too similar to the first poem called ‘London’ as it talks about the countryside more than the town. There is a slow rhythm in the poem because it deals with how the countryside is better than the city as it makes the countryside seem more relaxed and calm..

Poem three is called ‘Symphony In Yellow’. This poem has 3�4 line stanzas similarly as ‘A Dead Harvest In Kensington Gardens’. It has a regular rhyme scheme and this poem gives a very positive look/view at the city named London. The poet has used a lot of similes through out the poem to make the poem interesting and also to describe the city in a modern way. The word ‘yellow’ is repeated several times in the poem to the word. ‘Lies like a rod of rippled jade’, is a simile which can also mean that London is a good place, and the word jade means, a semiprecious gemstone which is usually green but sometimes whitish. Alliteration is used most of the time in the poem to give a good effect and also to keep the rhythm going, such alliteration was used as, ‘shows like a little restless midge’ and ‘big barges full of yellow hay’.

‘London’. The poet has made himself as a character in this poem. He wrote this in the first poem. He describes what he can see and feel. The evidence to support this is, ‘I wander through each chartered street, near, where the chartered Thames does flow, and mark in every face I meet. Marks of weakness, marks of woe,’ the poet also describes the place by using such words as, ‘weakness’ or ‘woe’ therefore describing it as a depressing and unhappy place.

The second poem called ‘A Dead Harvest in Kensington Gardens’ has a different approach. The poet doesn’t really include a character in the poem but instead he builds up a story. The evidence to support this is, ‘along the graceless grass of town, they rake the rows of red and brown.’ The theme of this poem is that, the countryside is superior to the town life is in someway unnatural. The poem is structured by 3�5 line stanzas with a regular rhyme scheme. The poem also describes that the countryside doesn’t like town people coming to it, ‘bosom nor barn is filled with these’.

I think that all of these poems were brilliant, because they are all linked to London in someway, they were really effective, well structured and most of all they were not boring. The poem that I like the best was ‘Symphony in Yellow’ because of its positive view on London and how it describes the city.


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