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LONDON - William Blake

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on 18 November 2015

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Transcript of LONDON - William Blake

By: Sharmain Ho & Ghia Roy
LONDON - William Blake
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 black'ning church appalls
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.
Works Cited
Blake, William. "London."
An Introduction to Poetry
. Eds. X.J. Kennedy &

Dana Gioia. New York: Harper Collins College Publishers, 1994.

70-71. Print.

London - Imagery, Symbolism and Themes.
" Crossref-it.info. Web. 17

Nov. 2015.

Magher, Maria. "
The Symbolism and Imagery in 'London' by William

" Demand Media. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

Poetic/ Literary Devices
Poetic/ Literary Devices
Poetic/ Literary Devices
Poetic/ Literary Devices
Poetic/ Literary Devices
Poetic/ Literary Devices
Thank you for listening!
Iambic tetrameter:
The poet generally uses this rhythm in the poem. However, the poet shifts the rhythm a little and makes it different in lines 4, 9-12, and 14-15. These lines do not have the conventional 8 syllables per line, but only have 7 syllables instead.
Shift in rhythm puts emphasis on the change of mood in the poem
Intensifies the atmosphere of the poem - gloomy & somber

"Thames" (2) - The Thames River is an actual river in England.
"Marks of weakness, marks of woe" (4) - There is a repeated consonant sound of the letter "w" from "weakness" and "woe".
Emphasize the misery of the characters

Rhyme Scheme:

Poetic License:
The poet drifts away from the regular ABAB rhyme scheme and alters it in the third stanza and makes it EFGF on purpose.
Indicates a shift in the poem

Poetic License:
"Black'ning" (10) - This word is usually spelled with an "e" (blackening). By omitting the "e" and replacing it with an apostrophe, the word is shorter when read. It also reduces the syllables from three to two.
There are four stanzas in the poem and each stanza consists of 4 lines.

"In every cry of every man, / In every infant's cry of fear, / In every voice: in every ban" (5-7) - These three lines all start with "In every..."
Emphasis on how the society is under oppression

"... every face I meet" (3) - In this context, "face: is used to refer to a person as a whole, not just a part of the body.

"manacles" (8)
Denotation - A chain to confine.
Connotation - The restriction of freedom and slavery.

"chimney-sweeper" (9)
Denotation - A person that cleans the inside of a chimney.
Connotation - The soiling and corrupting of innocence.

"church" (10)
Denotation - A building used for public worship.
Connotation - A place that represents all good things.

"mark" is used three times in stanza one; in line 3 and two times within line 4.
Reiterates the importance

"Mind-forged manacles I hear" (8) - The manacles are related to the cries and sounds the speaker heard earlier on in the poem and is also symbolic; it symbolizes the ways the people are restricted and enslaved, resulting in widespread crying.
Restricted expression of thought
The chimney sweeper and the soldier are both pawns that the government manipulates and act as slaves. "The mind-forged manacles" (8) are not actually heard, but are only there psychologically in the people's minds. It is just an image and the people think they are restricted/ tied down physically, but they actually aren't and they only confine themselves mentally. The people also show signs of oppression and containment, which explains the complete power the government has over the society. In addition to the government, the church is also an important figure in society. The people are not allowed to oppose the church, as the church is almighty.

In this poem, death is an extremely prominent theme. For instance, there is "blood [running] down palace walls" (12), a "hearse" (16), blights (16), and plagues (16). The blood on the palace walls is as a result of war, and blights and plagues are diseases. As for the hearses, it shows that more people are dying because there is no reason to use them otherwise.
Background information: The poem gives a setting of a time in London during the 1790's. Many changes were being made during this time through economic, social, and political means during the Industrial Revolution. The poet shows the uncertainty and oppression that was present during this time.
First Stanza:
The people the poet sees seem lost, like him
"weakness" and "woe" = oppression & unhappiness
Second Stanza:
The poet stresses the mental constriction imposed on the characters
People are crying out for freedom
Third Stanza:
The poet describes the effect of the oppression
How even the good can go bad and hopeful go hopeless
Fourth Stanza:
The poet describes the corruption in the society
All things are corrupt

"And blights with plagues the marriage hearse" (16) - This hints to the readers that something unfortunate will happen and will be closely related to death.

"harlot's curse" (14) - Symbolizes the prostitute's terrible life experiences.

"soldier's sigh" (11) - Symbolizes the state of frustration, sadness, and annoyance the soldier is in.

Chimney sweeping is an extremely dangerous and filthy job and it symbolizes death/darkness and the destruction of innocence.

- "Runs in blood down palace walls" (12)
Uses this to create an image of death
Palace walls = royalty
Blood = Despair
Creates a deeper meaning that the soldier gives up his life for what is futile = corrupt

- "The mind-forged manacles" (8)
Creates an image of bondage and confinement of the people
There is heavy bondage between the society and the people with complete power (government, people who follow popular beliefs)
Shows the danger of ignorance = it comes with sorrow
Destroyed Innocence
During the Industrial Revolution, young children were commonly employed as chimney-sweepers because of their small figure and agile bodies. In the quote: "How the chimney-sweeper's cry / Every black'ning church appalls" (9 -10), the blackening of the walls symbolizes the children's innocence getting more soiled and tainted, as they work in the chimneys. The word "blasts" (15) can represent the destruction of the children's innocent nature. As it was a time of corruption in England, the churches had high authority and were corrupt. This led to the abandonment of society and as society was led astray, many people were in despair.

Depressing, Somber, Dark

Cynical, Solemn

The word "every" is used frequently in the poem; it is used in lines 4-6, and 10. It helps convey the widespread pain and the intense feelings of sadness in London.

"Cry" is used line 5, 6, and 9. It serves its purpose to reveal the mourning and despair of the people.

"How the youthful harlot's curse / Blasts the new born infant's tear" (15-16) - It shows that the harlot's gruesome cursing can debase and impose itself on people crying. Additionally, it means how the depressed people don't even get the chance to cry peacefully and alone.

Poetic/ Literary Devices
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