Alas, I tried to find a more upbeat poem about London, but, you know, we have to accept all aspects of the city’s history and residents’ perspectives…if you’d prefer the optimism of Blake’s “Songs of Innocence” (vs. “Songs of Experience”), then please refer to my previous post.

LONDON – William Blake (1794)

I wander through each chartered street,
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every man,
In every infant’s cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear:

How the chimney-sweeper’s cry
Every blackening church appals,
And the hapless soldier’s sigh
Runs in blood down palace-walls.

But most, through midnight streets I hear
How the youthful harlot’s curse
Blasts the new-born infant’s tear,
And blights with plagues the marriage-hearse.