To compare and contrast Thomas de Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater with William Wordsworth's Home at Grasmere, it is helpful to note the relationship history between both authors.
Thomas de Quincey (1785-1859) was William Wordsworth's (1770-1850) junior by fifteen years. His relationship with Wordsworth earned him an invitation to stay with the Wordsworth family at their Dove Cottage, a house situated in Grasmere in the Lake District, in 1807. Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy, lived at Grasmere from December of 1799 to May of 1808; upon their vacating Dove Cottage, de Quincey moved himself into the cozy home in 1809. He stayed until money ran out for him, in 1820.
To understand the differences between de Quincey and his mentor, it is worth noting the first split in their friendly acquaintance. This happened during the Cintra essay debacle. Accordingly, Wordsworth had put de Quincey in charge of proof-reading; de Quincey, a voracious reader, was well-known for his prose and ecstatic to be chosen by his idol to oversee the whole process of editing and printing. However, his joy soon turned to dismay when the autocratic Wordsworth made difficult and often contradictory demands on him. Furthermore, Cintra, at 216 pages, didn't sell well, and Wordsworth bitterly blamed de Quincey for obscuring his 'long and involved sentences' with de Quincey's 'unusual system of punctuation.'
To make matters worse, de Quincey and Wordsworth shared antithetical views about nature. While De Quincey enjoyed his idol's poems, he was more interested in people, history, and legends, than in 'waterfalls or sheepfolds or sunrises or daffodils.' Wordsworth viewed nature as the ultimate, transcending inspiration for his writing while de Quincey relied on laudanum (opium mixed in alcohol) to fuel his writing binges. On any given day, de Quincey was known to consume about '480 grains of opium or twelve thousand drops of laudanum.' He increased his dosage when his stomach ailments became worse.
So, you can see one of the main differences between Confessions of an English Opium Eater and Home at Grasmere. The former concerns itself with addiction, pain, and the struggle for relevance and meaning. It is a treatise filled with vulnerable confessions and humiliating concessions. The latter, on the other hand, concerns itself with the transcending influence of nature and how nature mitigates the dehumanizing influences of modernization and industrialization.
Say boldly then that solitude is not
Where these things are: he truly is alone,
He of the multitude whose eyes are doomed
To hold a vacant commerce day by day
With objects wanting life - repelling love;
He by the vast Metropolis immured,
Where pity shrinks from unremitting calls,
Where numbers overwhelm humanity,
And neighbourhood serves rather to divide
Than to unite. (from Home at Grasmere).
Home at Grasmere is also written in blank verse, while Confessions of an English Opium Eater is equal parts autobiography and cathartic prose.
Source: The English Opium Eater, a biography of Thomas de Quincey by Robert Morrison.
The addicted life of Thomas de Quincey.
Imagination, Metaphor, and Mythopoeia in Wordsworth, Shelley, and Keats by Firat Karadas.