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Compare Two Poems: 'London' and 'London's Summer Morning'

In this worksheet, students compare two poems about ('London' by William Blake and 'London's Summer Morning' by Mary Robinson).

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:  Reading

Curriculum subtopic:  Make Critical Text Comparisons

Difficulty level:  

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QUESTION 1 of 10

First, read these two poems about London.

 

 

*******************

Text One

London

by William Blake

 

 

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 Infants cry of fear,

In every voice: in every ban,

The mind-forg'd manacles I hear

 

How the Chimney-sweepers cry

Every blackning Church appalls,

And the hapless Soldiers sigh

Runs in blood down Palace walls

 

But most thro' midnight streets I hear

How the youthful Harlots curse

Blasts the new-born Infants tear

And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse

 

*******************

 

 

Text Two

Extract from

London's Summer Morning

by Mary Robinson

Who has not waked to list the busy sounds

Of summer's morning, in the sultry smoke

Of noisy London? On the pavement hot

The sooty chimney-boy, with dingy face

And tatter'd covering, shrilly bawls his trade,

Rousing the sleepy housemaid. At the door

The milk-pail rattles, and the tinkling bell

Proclaims the dustman's office; while the street

Is lost in clouds impervious. Now begins

The din of hackney-coaches, waggons, carts;

While tinmen's shops, and noisy trunk-makers,

Knife-grinders, coopers, squeaking cork-cutters,

Fruit barrows, and the hunger-giving cries

Of vegetable venders, fill the air.

Now every shop displays its varied trade,

And the fresh-sprinkled pavement cools the feet

Of early walkers...

 

*******************

 

 

Now go through the worksheet and answer the questions. If you need to read the poems again, you can do so by clicking on the Help button.

Both text one and text two are about walking through the city and experiencing what is going on there. Which of the following sounds are from Text One and which are from Text Two?

 Text One Text Two
cry
infants cry
tinkling bell
sigh
shrilly bawls
milk pail rattles
harlots curse
squeaking

Overall, (considering the sounds from Question 1) which poem contains sounds that are more positive about London, and which more negative?

 More positive More negative
Text One
Text Two

In Text One there is a famous line:

The mind-forg'd manacles I hear

 

 

Which of the following is the best explanation for what this phrase might mean?

Chains which are made of steel.

Chains which slaves wear.

Chains which exist in your mind, stopping you from doing things.

Mary Robinson begins her poem (Text Two) which the following quotation:

 

Who has not waked to list the busy sounds

Of summer's morning, in the sultry smoke

Of noisy London?

 

Which literary device is she using here?

personification

assonance

rhetorical question

Although text two shows that the inhabitants of London are 'rough and ready'; "dingy face...shrilly bawls his trade", it is mostly positive.

 

Which three of the following statements are true?

The poem lists all the jobs people have to do.

The people are poor and hungry.

The noises show that people are hardworking and productive.

There is plenty to buy and trade.

Everyone in London is rich.

Read this student's work. Help them to choose the best quotation to argue their point:

 

In Text One, the writer shows people to be vulnerable: "infant's cry" or downright unpleasant: _________________. This phrase suggest that prostitution is rife and is affecting everyday life in a negative way.

"Marks of weakness"

"Harlot's curse"

"Infants cry of fear"

Read this student's work. Which of the following quotations would help to support their argument?

 

In Text Two, the writer emphasises how bustling and busy the city is by using lists. She also demonstrates that there is plenty to buy, suggesting a thriving place: ____________________.

"every shop displays its varied trade"

"the sooty chimney-boy"

"noisy trunk-makers"

In Text One, Blake uses the words "weakness" and "woe" to describe the marks on the faces of the people he meets. Which literary device uses two or more words beginning with the same letter, close together?

Read this paragraph and choose the correct ending.

 

Both poems include a description of the chimney sweep and his work. Text Two describes his "tatter'd covering" as he "shrilly bawls his trade" but he seems happy to be part of city life. On the other hand, Text One describes how "Every blackning Church appalls" and the sweep cries, which suggests that he is being ________________.

imported

supported

exploited

Match up the poem with the correct description.

Column A

Column B

Text One: London
Poor, ignorant and unpleasant people living misera...
Text Two: London's Summer Morning
Simple but industrious people, working hard and en...
  • Question 1

Both text one and text two are about walking through the city and experiencing what is going on there. Which of the following sounds are from Text One and which are from Text Two?

CORRECT ANSWER
 Text One Text Two
cry
infants cry
tinkling bell
sigh
shrilly bawls
milk pail rattles
harlots curse
squeaking
  • Question 2

Overall, (considering the sounds from Question 1) which poem contains sounds that are more positive about London, and which more negative?

CORRECT ANSWER
 More positive More negative
Text One
Text Two
EDDIE SAYS
The tone of the poems, as revealed by the noises in the texts, is more negative in text one and more positive in text two.
  • Question 3

In Text One there is a famous line:

The mind-forg'd manacles I hear

 

 

Which of the following is the best explanation for what this phrase might mean?

CORRECT ANSWER
Chains which exist in your mind, stopping you from doing things.
EDDIE SAYS
The mind-forged manacles exist in the mind of the people Blake sees in London. They do not have real chains, but they behave and live their lives in a way which suggests that they have 'chains' in their mind, preventing them from making better life choices.
  • Question 4

Mary Robinson begins her poem (Text Two) which the following quotation:

 

Who has not waked to list the busy sounds

Of summer's morning, in the sultry smoke

Of noisy London?

 

Which literary device is she using here?

CORRECT ANSWER
rhetorical question
EDDIE SAYS
The use of the rhetorical question means that the reader asks themself the question, and can therefore imagine more clearly the busy and smokey streets of London.
  • Question 5

Although text two shows that the inhabitants of London are 'rough and ready'; "dingy face...shrilly bawls his trade", it is mostly positive.

 

Which three of the following statements are true?

CORRECT ANSWER
The poem lists all the jobs people have to do.
The noises show that people are hardworking and productive.
There is plenty to buy and trade.
  • Question 6

Read this student's work. Help them to choose the best quotation to argue their point:

 

In Text One, the writer shows people to be vulnerable: "infant's cry" or downright unpleasant: _________________. This phrase suggest that prostitution is rife and is affecting everyday life in a negative way.

CORRECT ANSWER
"Harlot's curse"
EDDIE SAYS
A harlot is another word for a prostitute.
  • Question 7

Read this student's work. Which of the following quotations would help to support their argument?

 

In Text Two, the writer emphasises how bustling and busy the city is by using lists. She also demonstrates that there is plenty to buy, suggesting a thriving place: ____________________.

CORRECT ANSWER
"every shop displays its varied trade"
  • Question 8

In Text One, Blake uses the words "weakness" and "woe" to describe the marks on the faces of the people he meets. Which literary device uses two or more words beginning with the same letter, close together?

CORRECT ANSWER
alliteration
  • Question 9

Read this paragraph and choose the correct ending.

 

Both poems include a description of the chimney sweep and his work. Text Two describes his "tatter'd covering" as he "shrilly bawls his trade" but he seems happy to be part of city life. On the other hand, Text One describes how "Every blackning Church appalls" and the sweep cries, which suggests that he is being ________________.

CORRECT ANSWER
exploited
EDDIE SAYS
To exploit someone means to use them in an unfair and selfish way. Text One suggests that the chimney sweep is being exploited by the churches and other establishments as he is forced to work in such appalling conditions.
  • Question 10

Match up the poem with the correct description.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Text One: London
Poor, ignorant and unpleasant peo...
Text Two: London's Summer Morning
Simple but industrious people, wo...
EDDIE SAYS
Text one displays a very negative image of the city, emphasising the hopelessness of the poor. Text two, however, displays a more positive image; highlighting the industrious and bustling nature of the city and the determination of its inhabitants to work hard and try and earn a living.
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