PiP: London (William Blake)


By William Blake

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 blackning 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


Dear diary,

Today I decided to go for a walk, my schedule was blank anyways so I thought some fresh air would’ve been nothing but satisfying. I left my house and just wandered. While I was making my way through London, I started thinking about life and about society. I had never expected it to be so depressing. I came to the realisation that the city isn’t what it has been. Back in the old days, man admired the city and it’s nature around while nowadays it’s rather a playground for the industries. It ruins the city by painting buildings black as tar with its smoke. I came across the house of God and there were few people in it. Lucifer holds most of the cords nowadays. But not only the city itself is affected, no, also its people. Strangers I met seemed all full of grief. Even children, the future of our society. Man has surrendered to the industries and all the harm it brings. Man has imprisoned himself. The royal house is guilty of fighting pointless battles and the death and harm it causes among our brave soldiers. It is operating in its self-interest while keeping a blind eye on what’s happening to its people. But dear diary, if you think this is bad, you must know the night is even worse. I was stunned by London’s women of pleasure: my eyes saw appearances so young but my ears heard an adult tongue and newborns crying honest tears. I heard the sick coughing out their lungs because of the smoke and the diseases afflicting the city. The wedding cars I saw during the day, now carry bodies already in decay. O my diary, how has my come to this point? I just can’t believe it. But for now good night. For now the only thing I desire is to wander through the harmonious world in my mind.

© Gijs van Iterson

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