Comparing the sonnet "London, 1802" by William Wordsworth, and "The Lamb" written by William Blake

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The sonnet "London, 1802" written by William Wordsworth, and "The Lamb" written by William Blake both contain elements of Romanticism. Both of the poems clearly follow a structure similar to Abrams' Romantic formula, which is composed of a realistic setting, visionary experience, and return to a setting with insight. Both "London, 1802" and "The Lamb" are composed of the above elements yet they differ in their approach to each element. Each poem has its unique atmosphere or tone. This leads one to be able to identify the contrasts between the meaning and images within the poems.

The Romantic elements of "London, 1802" are those defined by Wordsworth himself. This poem's origin is spontaneous in nature. The basic images and metaphors of the sonnet make extensive use of nature, realistic setting. The idea for the poem sprung from Wordsworth's initial reaction to the state of London upon his return from France:

...(this was) written immediately after my return from France to London,

when I could not but be struck...with the vanity and parade of our own


From this account it can be deduced that the poem was spontaneous in nature and originated from an internal response. The poem's use of a realistic setting occurs in line 2 with the reference of England as a "fen." This particular adjective e describes England as a "land wholly or partially covered by water, mud, clay, or dirt."(Oxford English Dictionary). From this line a realistic setting is produced. The narrator further conveys a visionary experience through the extensive uses of nature via similes and metaphors within the poem. On lines 2, 9, 10, 11 it states,

England hath need of thee: she is a fen

Thy soul was like a Star

Thou hadst a voice whose sound...