I wander thro’ each charter’d street,
Near where the charter’d Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear
How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every black’ning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls
But most thro’ midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse
The speaker wanders through the streets of London and comments on his observations. He sees despair in the faces of the people he meets and hears fear and repression in their voices. The woeful cry of the chimney-sweeper stands as a chastisement to the Church, and the blood of a soldier stains the outer walls of the monarch’s residence. The nighttime holds nothing more promising: the cursing of prostitutes corrupts the newborn infant and sullies the “Marriage hearse.” Analysis
William Blake's poem, "London", is obviously a sorrowful poem. In the first two stanzas, Blake utilizes alliteration and word choice to set the mournful atmosphere. Blake introduces his reader to the narrator as he "wanders" through the "chartered" society. A society in which every person he sees has "marks of weakness, marks of woe." Blake repeatedly uses the word "every" and "cry" in the second stanza to symbolize the depression that hovers over the entire society. The "mind-forged manacles" the narrator hears suggests that he is not mentally stable. In the third stanza, Blake utilizes imagery of destruction and religion. This imagery is a paradox, which implies some religious destruction like the apocalypse. The "chimney-sweeper's cry" symbolizes the society trying to clean the ashes that causes their state of depression. Blake uses the religious imagery of the "black'ning church" to represent the loss of...
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