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William Blake

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Added by: Helen
A poem of social protest, against the suffering of all who live in a world such as this.
Written in 1789 (during the french revolution, and also the british industrial revolution).
It's about misery and human despair, the "mind forg'd manacles" of depression imprisoning people.
The rapidly indutrialising economy and society corrupt and poisin all those who live in it.
Not a poem of observed factual detail but Blake's perception of London, he uses the traditional form of alternate rhyming lines to imitate the repititive predictability of the circle of suffering.
This poem was published in a book of Blake's poetry called "songs of innocence and experience" all of his other negative poems in this book have an "innocent" counterpart, except London, which does not.
his book of poetry is said to be showing "to contrary states to the human soul" but perhaps 'London' shows that: if the institution and structure of a place is corrupt then the people can never have a chance for innocence, this is all purely my only speculation, but would offer one possible explanation for 'London' having no innocent partner.
Added by: Steff Cunningham
Okay, probably not the most insightful point, but it's easy to see where Richard Ashcroft got the inspiration for the the Verve song "History"
london:william blake
Added by: twinpetit
Blake? work, and more specifically ?ondon? were the result of the industrialised, oppressive, class based society in which they were written. ?ondon?is a direct commentary on such a society, London itself, commenting on the injustices, filth and hypocrisy that was rife at the time. Being a song of experience and published in 1794, it maintains the somber, dark moods and images that are typical of both the Period and the collection of poems.
Added by: jenny flemmings
London is a direct commentry on an immensly industrialised society which was also highly oppressive and class based. It was written at a time when London, by far had a lot to desire
Added by: aflonzo
London is a poem revealing the darkness within the light. All the details not stressed in historical records...
Added by: Kia
London is not so much how the city looks and feels dirty. It is more of a deeper poem than just what is read on the surface. Blake talks about the faces of the people, and how on every person's face, their feelings can be depicted. Their faces reveal their scars from their past, and depression each person feels.
Added by: oli
Thats true about the darkness within the light, consider the phrase marriage hearse, a hearse being a vehicle used for funerals associated with a wedding, a great city like London although most people lived in desperation. One must realise that Britain was the greatest power in the world at the time, yet the maany of the countries people were living in poverty, this again is about the subject of the darkness within the light.
Added by: lisa
I think that with the poem, Blake is trying to show us what the life of a typical Londoner was like during the french revoloution. He talks about the restrictions that they face and in my opinion that is to do with the restrictions of the mind, that they were unable to think what they wanted to because of the government. Blake also talks about the vulnerability of society by mentioning the infants cry.
Added by: Paul S
I'm glad others have noticed the similarity between Richard Ashcroft's "History" and William Blake's "London"... I remember being astounded when I first read the poem in a book shop and the song (which I already knew well) jumped out of the words at me!
London is, in my opinion, closer to the atmosphere and yearning of the music of History than Ashcroft's own words. Perhaps he should have spent the entire song delving into a modern update on Blake's darkening words rather than straying from the context and resorting to lazy imagery of smoking drugs in bed!
It somewhat cheapens the song when you compare the two texts: Ashcroft trails off but remains evocative - Blake powers his way throughout, dirtying the poem more and more with each line, getting richer and richer.
A sublime example of poetry in rock music producing wonderful results... but perhaps an almost verbatim hiving of Blake's lyric would have created an absolutely astounding composition!
Added by: Pelopidas
Its a poem. Nothing more nothing less.

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