* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
Dismiss
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
London, 1802

London, 1802

by William Wordsworth

Analysis: Sound Check

This poem is extra-special-fancy by Wordsworth's standards; we can imagine him sitting down, clearing his throat, cracking his knuckles, and thinking, "What would Milton like?" This is kind of like buckling down to write a fan letter to your favorite celebrity, dead or alive, in which you want to tell them just how totally amazing he/she is, and how much you really, REALLY love him/her.

We imagine Mr. Wordsworth crossing out line after line, trying to create a poem that could possibly express his overwhelming angst at the state of England, and also be worthy of addressing the absent-yet-looming figure of Milton, before settling upon this version of the poem, which is, we must admit, more than a little fawning. It's almost too adoring; we can practically picture Wordsworth swooning and sighing, "Oh Milton, is there anything you couldn't do?"

Wordsworth poses the problem of England's personality crisis, and makes Milton out to be the solution; the implication is that, if all of his compatriots could just be like the divine Mr. Milton, everything would be peachy keen. Wordsworth's immense respect for Milton, as both a poet and a highly moral human being, are communicated through the language of the poem, which ends up reading like an elegant and plaintive love letter from one straight male poet to another.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement
Noodle's College Search
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement