Saturday, 31 October 2015

London (poem) by WILLIAM BLAKE

London                                                                                                                         William Blake

William Blake is a great English poet. His finest work “Inventions to the Book of Job” is distinguished by originality and imagination.  His poetry is remarkable for its use of brilliant imagery and the force of its rhythm.  Both in religion and politics, he was a revolutionary.  Critics hail him as the greatest precursor of the Romantic revival in English literature. London is one of the finest lyrics composed by William Blake. It gives us a vivid picture of the city of London with special emphasis on its seamy side. The poet, as one can see in this poem, is filled with the milk of human kindness.

The poet says that he wanders through the chartered streets of the city of London, which is the greatest city in the world. The city is full of skyscrapers, beautiful roads, castles and palaces. Every street is beautiful in its own way. But William Blake does not see such things. He looks at the faces of the common people. They suffer from poverty, pain and over work. Their sorrow and misery is reflected on their faces. They are tired of life, because they are being oppressed and exploited by the rich. The church is supposed to be the protector of the poor. But the church supports the rich to exploit the poor and downtrodden. So both the rich and the church are wicked. That is why the poet says that the church is black which shocks the poor.
In his wanderings, the poet sees that the rich dominate the City Corporation. They are nominated to all administrative and judiciary posts. They make laws, which protect the interests of the rich and the church. So these mind forged laws have become “mind-forged manacles” or chains for the poor and the downtrodden. With the help of these mind-forged laws, the rich enslave the poor and the downtrodden. As a result the society is always dominated by the rich and the church.  The poor is imprisoned by the rich. The poor remains slaves of the rich. The infants are employed as chimney sweepers. While sweeping the chimney, they breath poisonous air and drop dead. There was no law to prevent child labour. At that time workers had no fixed wages or time of work. They are mere slaves of the rich, because all the laws are made by the rich in order to protect only their interests.
William Blake is a great visionary and a revolutionary. He loves London but hates the rich and the church because they exploit the poor.  The poem is simple and forceful.  Brilliant images are used in the poem. The phrases such as “chartered street, mind-forged manacles, blackening church and marriage hearse. The poet is a powerful critic of men and manners.
In his wanderings, he also sees the chimney sweepers. He hears their cry. They cry for food and justice. He also watches the soldiers, who belongs to the poor class and becomes a soldier to earn his daily bread and butter. He has to kill his own brothers and sisters to protect the interests of the rich and the church. Finally he is killed and his blood runs through the walls of the palace and mansions.

In his midnight wanderings through the chartered streets of London, the poet is shocked to see the poor young girls sell their chastity to earn their daily bread and butter. Thus they turn into harlots and lead a miserable life. So they hate marriage and married people. They do not want children to be born to them. They know well that their children will have the same miserable life. So they kill their own children. Thus William Blake draws a horrible and shocking picture of London City by the effective use of striking images and phrases.
Give short answers to the following questions:
1)      What does the poet see in the chartered street of London?
2)      In what does the poet hear the mind forged manacles?
3)      Why does the p[oet say that the church is blackening?
4)      Why does the poet say that the harlot’s curse blasts new born infants and marriage?
5)      Write an essay on the personality of William Blake as reflected in the poem “London

6)      Write an essay on: Give an appreciation of the poem “London

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