London

Original Text: 
William Blake, Songs of Experience (1794). Blake's Illuminated Books, ed. David Bindman (Princeton, NJ: William Blake Trust; London: Tate Gallery, 1991-). See Vol. 2. PR 4142 B46 1991 ROBA.
2Near where the charter'd Thames does flow,
3And mark in every face I meet
4Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
5In every cry of every Man,
6In every Infant's cry of fear,
7In every voice, in every ban,
9How the Chimney-sweeper's cry
10Every black'ning Church appalls;
11And the hapless Soldier's sigh
12Runs in blood down Palace walls.
13But most thro' midnight streets I hear
14How the youthful Harlot's curse
15Blasts the new born Infant's tear,
16And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.

Notes

1] charter'd. Blake first wrote "dirty", then "cheating"; the word may be an ironic allusion to "Rule Britannia." Back to Line
8] mind-forg'd manacles. Blake's original version, "German forged links", perhaps reflects popular resentment at the presence of Hessian and other German mercenaries in the city. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1794
RPO poem Editors: 
Northrop Frye
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.284.
Rhyme: