William Blake

(28 November 1757 – 12 August 1827 / London)

London - Poem by William Blake

I wandered through each chartered street,
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
A 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.

Form: Anaphora

Comments about London by William Blake

  • (6/21/2018 6:07:00 AM)

    I have studied this poem during my Degree. Very Good Poem. (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (6/7/2018 8:11:00 AM)

    Y 420 blaze it when u can buy a dad and name it (Report) Reply

  • (4/10/2018 2:28:00 PM)

    im only here cause i have english hw (Report) Reply

  • (3/11/2018 6:20:00 AM)

    Nah. Not good enough (Report) Reply

  • (12/23/2017 6:41:00 AM)

    so great and rich poem. i enjoyed reading it. (Report) Reply

  • (12/14/2017 6:35:00 AM)

    mlg noscope into mountain dew and chilli dorito (Report) Reply

  • (12/14/2017 6:34:00 AM)

    I'm glad u died dfmadfklvnbftr (Report) Reply

  • (12/14/2017 6:32:00 AM)

    fartnoise in your mums kettle andi have a dad who is also a man die in hole you sweet potato the ride your dads mum in to a skip filled with beans cos you5rdad is my mums mums mum and I like wet sweetcorn and my pet lettuce lkikes rabbit food (Report) Reply

  • (12/14/2017 6:30:00 AM)

    hello dad is that u (Report) Reply

  • (12/14/2017 6:29:00 AM)

    helo fam I'm with nanny sackerrmouth 0121 flop yiout your Tesco bag then swimin rice cause your name uis bennet (Report) Reply

  • (11/22/2017 12:48:00 PM)

    This poem is disgusting (Report) Reply

  • (11/13/2017 11:45:00 AM)

    This was one of the best poems I have ever read (Report) Reply

  • (9/17/2017 2:55:00 AM)

    This poem was written right after a riot. (Report) Reply

  • (5/28/2017 12:53:00 PM)

    I hated this poem! ! It made me feel so uncomfortable. I was livid the whole time reading it. Writing about child labour, harlots, chimney sweepers… I didn't understand! Poetry is supposed to be pleasant! (Report) Reply

  • (3/15/2017 4:33:00 PM)

    for more London poems:
    https: //existentiallondoner.wordpress.com/
    (Report) Reply

  • (6/30/2016 8:13:00 AM)

    This poem really create a lot! (Report) Reply

  • (3/1/2016 9:04:00 PM)

    ..............beautiful poem...I would love to visit London someday ★ (Report) Reply

    (6/6/2018 3:52:00 AM)

    I live in london

  • Susan Williams (3/1/2016 3:41:00 PM)

    One more thing- I promise- I know this is the third comment I've posted on this fantastic piece of literature but frankly there are at least twenty more comments I'd like to make.  This poem has captivated me- I want to explore its streets and channels.  But I will restrict myself to this.  I just had to mention that this is a very noisy poem.  He is walking the charted streets and he does give us unforgettable visuals but that's not all.  He lets us know there are cries everywhere.
    In every cry of every man,
    In every Infant's cry of fear
    , In every voice, in every ban,
    The mind-forg'd manacles I hear.
    ... How the Chimney-sweeper's cry
    ......... And the hapless Soldier's sigh
    Runs in blood down Palace walls
    .................But most thro' midnight streets I hearHow the youthful Harlot's curse
    Blasts the new-born Infant's tear,
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - The sounds in this poem assault your eardrums.  Assault your soul.Cries, cries, and more cries—sound is everywhere in this poem. Something is rotten here in Denmark that there are so many cries of pain.  Because of the pain of mind-forged manacles.... I'd love to go after that phrase. But I promised this was the last comment I would make. 
    (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (3/1/2016 3:06:00 PM)

    Hopefully it is all right to post more than one comment because I got side-tracked on my first comment.  My eye got caught on the word charter'd basically because Blake used it twice.  Repetition is a  poetic standard but not like this.  Blake is too good a poet to repeat a word just because he's too lazy to find a synonym.  That means something is up with this word.  Charter’d”—means that the land or building is owned by and bound to someone.  There's nothing new about that.  Why is Blake fixated on it?  The government of England chartered it- divided it up- lay claim to the right to do so.  The area is blighted by poverty, hopelessness, filth, disease, lawlessness, child labor prostitution. But the government does not claim the human suffering.  Instead, it turns its back on it and lets it fester. Blake sees that people are trapped here in these chartered streets, imprisoned there by an uncaring government so he makes sure the reader sees and ponders the word chartered. He is protesting apparently in a climate that punishes protesting. (Report) Reply

  • Susan Williams (3/1/2016 2:48:00 PM)

    There are a thousand and one things I want to explore in this poem.  It is so rich with symbols,  A person could go nuts on the ending alone. Actually, the poem might be closing but the cycle of misery in London is going to continue going around and around because a new life is born into this soul-destroying poverty and is greeted by the prostitute cursing him. The Marriage hearse?  Marriage and love and virginity and joy are dead in this London and the hearse is taking them to the graveyard of dreams. Well, shoot, I got side-tracked.  I wanted to talk about that fascinating word charter'd   (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: marriage, soldier, fear, london, running

Poem Submitted: Wednesday, May 9, 2001

Poem Edited: Wednesday, May 9, 2001

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