From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.



by William Blake

London Death Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #1

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow, (1-2)

Chartering something—controlling it through legal means, or making it more narrow—is a way of killing something. This becomes clearer in the poem as everybody the speaker meets on these "streets" seems dead.

Quote #2

How the Chimney-sweeper's cry
Every blackning Church appalls; (9-10)

We can't think about chimney-sweepers without thinking of the color black, which, at least in a poem like this, definitely makes us think of death. Just to make sure we "get" it, the word "blackning" appears in the very next line. Death, death, death.

Quote #3

And the hapless Soldier's sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls. (11-12)

Soldiers fight wars, which makes us think of death. The image of blood running down a wall does as well. Taken together, the speaker clearly has war-related death and war-related violence on his mind. Strangely, these things are "present" in London, a place far away from any real battlefield. Wow.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...