London

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 city 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
Every black’ning church appals;
And the hap­less sol­diers sigh
Runs in blood down palace walls.

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

Lon­don was writ­ten by William Blake in 1794, in the after­math of the French Rev­o­lu­tion – a time of great polit­i­cal con­flict in Britain.