A comparison of the poems ‘A London Fete’ by George Patmore and ‘Clever Tom Clinch Going to be Hanged’ by Jonathan Swift Essay
Essay Topic: Literature
Paper type: Essay
Words: 767, Paragraphs: 18, Pages: 4
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The two poems ‘A London Fete’ by Coventry Patmore and ‘Clever Tom Clinch Going to be Hanged’ by the poet Jonathan Swift both share the theme and the horror of public execution, although each poem has a different focus point.
‘A London Fete’ concentrates on the impression the impression that the crowd watching the execution gives to the poet. It expresses the horror that the poet experiences as she watches the crowds attitude towards the execution. The very negative language of the poet expresses how she felt, “Thousands of eyeballs, lit with hell…as when the realm of the damned rejoiced at winning a soul to its will,” compares the event as a vision of hell.
The poet describes the crowd as a “rabble” an uncontrollable force almost like a mob, an evil atmosphere “as mothers held up their babes to see, who spread their hands and crowed with glee,” everyone in the rabble is involved almost as if they were all one person, all enjoying the entertainment, as it was called during the Pre 20th Century.
A crowd would gather around Newgate’s prison, which was a prison in London like death row, during the 1800’s many would have seen the spectacle of a prisoner being brought forth to the hangman’s rope.
For many of the people gathered it would have been a form of entertainment almost like a day out and many people would have gathered for the event, waiting with baited breaths. Anticipation rises as the crowd wait for the ‘show’ to begin “thousands of breasts beat horrid upon hope” depicts how the crowd waited and as more anticipation rose in the already tense atmosphere. “Blasphemed and fought for places,” describes how everyone wanted a place from which to watch.
“To windows, where, in freedom sweet, others enjoyed the wicked treat,” illustrates how much the people in the crowd enjoyed it, as does “Thousands of eyeballs, lit with hell. Burnt one way all, to see the rope unslacken as the platform fell” this also shows us that the crowd gathered all stared intently as if they were all one single person.
Yet with all the many people there “a man with yelling tired, stopped, and the culprits crime inquired” the use of vocabulary chosen shows that even though there is a large rabble gathered nobody there at the time knows neither who the “damned man” is nor the culprits crime was.
It didn’t matter about the name of the man, if he had a family or not, even whether he was innocent or guilty, no respect was given to the condemned man.
“The rope flew tight,” the waitings over, “and then the roar, Burst forth afresh; less loud, but more confused and affrighting.” the crowd has lost its unity, its roar.
The use of the word “common din, the chaos of noises” illustrates the use of how the author describes the pre-hanging scene.
“Clattering and clanging of hateful voices, sickening and stunned the air,” depicts just how much the poet sees the crowd as sinners during this very religious time.
“A thief slunk off with ample spoil, to ply elsewhere his daily toil,” this line tells us that although Public execution was designed to deterrent others from committing crimes others pocketed from the crowd, stealing money, this suggests that the supposed deterrent actually had little effect.
“A baby strung its doll to a stick; a mother praised the pretty trick…. two children caught and hung a cat,” Copying the event and the praise received shows that the people considered it to almost be like a show and how it influenced children’s lives even how the children saw of it as a game instead of the dramatic loss of human life.
Adults had been little affected even after seeing something so awful “Two friends went off, in lively chat” Basically it was part of normal life during that time.
The poets’ use of language reflects on how she saw the event, its personal, and her view of the crowd as she watched the horrid event and the people almost as bad as the criminals himself.
The title itself appears to have a sarcastic tone usually a fete would be a celebration. The poem appears also to be very realistic and quite dramatic with a sinister mood as the crowd is not in anyway sympathetic towards the criminal.
‘Clever Tom Clinch Going to be Hanged’ is also an ironic title seeing as if Tom Clinch was clever then he would never have been caught and the poem also has a comedy feel towards the theme of public execution.