Monday, August 03, 2009

The Beauty and the Ugly

When I read William words worth’s poem A Few Lines Written On West Minister Bridge I stumbled upon a beautiful but dark poem by William Blake on London.

Wordsworth poem was written about the beauty of the morning of London city viewed from the Bridge. It was written on the year 1802.

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

But another poem written 10 years earlier caught me completely off balance. The dark descriptions of chimney sweeping boy, pathetic state of common soldiers serving the king and apocalyptic woes of harlot women who pass on their curse(venereal decease) to next generations spoke volumes about conditions prevailed upon the society then. It gave a different picture from that of words worth ‘s London.

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 every cry of every Man,
In every Infant’s cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear.

How the Chimney-sweeper’s cry
Every black'ning Church appalls;
And the hapless Soldier’s sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls.

But most thro’ midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlot’s curse
Blasts the new-born Infant’s tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.

Read the Aanalysis of the poem

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