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Interestingly, contrary to the usual Romantic idolatry towards childhood and youth, Wordsworth appears to favour maturity: ‘that time [his ‘thoughtless youth’] has past … for such loss, I would believe, abundant recompence’. Wordsworth thus illustrates that, for the loss of his ‘wild ecstasies’ in his youth, he has gained something even greater. This, we may surmise, is a greater appreciation of nature. For example, Wordsworth notes that his attitude towards nature was in his youth an ‘appetite. This suggests that his connection to nature was subject to a certain fervent voracity, which contrasts with his present state wherein he allows these ‘wild ecstasies [to be] matured into a sober pleasure’, which suggests a patience and brooding attitude towards nature. It can be argued, therefore, that Wordsworth seeks less to lament his past self as he other Romantics do, but instead celebrate his newfound pensive mood towards nature. As such, it can be seen that the place of Tintern Abbey, for Wordsworth, serves as something of a constant – an image he ‘can return to’ to reflect on his own change as a person. This is reflected in the structure of the poem wherein there is a strict metre and yet it is separated into stanzas of different lengths and subject matter, thus mirroring the notion that Tintern Abbey stands as a constant ‘anchor’, but Wordsworth himself is changing.
In ‘London’, Blake’s portrayal of the poem’s eponymous setting conveys a constraint on the speaker. Blake wanders through ‘each charter’d street/Near where the charter’d Thames does flow’. The repetition of the lexis ‘charter’d’ could suggest that London itself is owned by means of bureaucracy, that it is constrained by ownership. This theme extends further with the image of a ‘charter’d Thames’: the image of a river, a source of nature, as attributed with a name ‘Thames’ in conjunction with the repeated idea of it being ‘charter’d’, could not only be interpreted in a sense that man has owned and constrained nature, but it can also be seen as a metaphor for how Man has constrained itself with industry, that we ourselves have cultivated the ‘mind-forg’d manacles’. This theme of constraint is echoed in the lack of diverse vocabulary used to depict London – the repetition of ‘charter’d’, ‘mark’, ‘cry’, ‘in every’ contributes to the limited and suffocating atmosphere, which is emphasised by the anaphora of ‘in every’, endowing London with an all-pervasive harshness of cries. The lack of lexical diversity could suggest that even the speaker’s mode of expression is constrained. As such, this could be seen as Blake showing the suffocating aspect of the social and economic changes of the late 18th century, and how industrialisation and need for profit superseded the need for human connection. Moreover, Blake furthers this hellish depiction by offering no signs of hope. In the last stanza the speaker notes that ‘most thro midnight streets I hear/How the youthful Harlot’s curse/Blasts the new born Infant’s tear’. The fact that the harlot is ‘youthful’ shows how the corrosive nature of industry had made its way into youth, and, from a Romantic view, purity – the young are selling away their innocence.
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