In "London, 1802," what literary devices does Wordsworth use?

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Shifting towards a more conservative outlook, Wordsworth appears patriotic and moralistic in this poem. He addresses Milton, pleading for the deceased poet to return and be an example of virtue for England (London). The literary device Wordsworth uses is called "apostrophe." This is when the poet or narrator addresses an absent person, object, or abstract notion. In this case, Wordsworth addresses the deceased poet John Milton.

Wordsworth uses the metaphor of a "fen" or swamp to describe England in 1802. He then uses synecdoche multiple times to describe how this swamp-ish state applies to many aspects of English life. Synecdoche is a figure of speech in which a part of something is used to represent the whole thing. The "altar" represents church and religion. The "sword" represents the military. The "pen" represents literature. And the "fireside" represents life in the home.

Describing Milton, Wordsworth says Milton was "like a Star." This is a simile: a comparison between two things, typically using "like" or "as." Using this comparison, Wordsworth is saying that Milton was a shining example and one that was apart from the world, therefore not one to conform to social trends and conventions. Wordsworth uses a few more similes in describing Milton. His voice was like the sea and was "pure as the naked heavens." Wordsworth means to say that Milton's voice was powerful and constant and that his moral character was pure.

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