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William Blake

            22nd September 2000 A Critical appreciation of William Blake's London. William Blake who lived in the latter half of the eighteenth century and the early part of the nineteenth century was a poet, a philosopher, a radical, an artist, and a great thinker; who was able to bring about remarkable results with the simplest of means in all of his work. He wrote his poems with deep personal emotions but if we look further and ignore the prophetic qualities we discover a further intended meanings of a strong political and social level. He was a critic of his own era but his poetry also strikes a chord in ours. He was one of several poets of the time who restored emotion and feelings into poetry, and so was one of the first romantics. Blake lived during a period of intense social changes, the industrial revolution, the French revolution and the American revolution all happened during his lifetime. Blake was witness to the transformation of a agricultural society to an industrial society, which is where the basis for some of his poems stand. As an example, we may look towards William Blake's London from his songs of experience, here Blake comments on a city he both loves and hates, it shows his disapproval of changes which occurred in his times. Blake describes the woes that the Industrial revolution and the breaking of the common mans ties to the land results in. He uses many methods to gain the perfect description of how he saw industrial London but the most outstanding method is his use of imagery. His first use of imagery is the first and second lines of the first stanza, he uses the words charter"d streets and charter"d Thames. A charter is a legal document which gives legal powers to the council of a town or city which allows them to be able to create there own laws within the boundaries of that place. The imagery suggests that not only do the streets of London have to follow the rules but that the River Thames has to be regulated as well.

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