London was a bad place back in the 1790s. Just ask the speaker of this poem, who takes a walk around an area near the Thames. He can hear all kinds of cries, from adults and kids alike. He sees people who look just awful, a church that's getting blacker all the time, and a palace that appears to have blood on its walls. Eesh. While walking at midnight, he hears something really bad: a harlot (prostitute) cursing her infant for crying. All in all? Bad times, y'all.