"London" by William Blake is a lyric poem with an ABAB rhyme scheme in the 4 four quatrains. The poem was originally published in Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience (Poetry Pundit). Throughout the poem as you are reading it gives off a very gloomy feel. Blake illustrates the city as dark and gloomy. He paints a picture of a troubled city that is going through troubled times. Society as a whole doesn't seem like such a great place. Blake's poem "London" shows how this city actually embodies the problems of humanity.
In the opening stanza, the speaker identifies that the streets and even the Thames (river) are "chartered," meaning they're owned ("Poetry Pundit"). The fact that even the river is owned property says a lot about the government and businesses of London owning everything, even life itself, especially since water is needed to live. The speaker of this poem is walking and he notices these things that are wrong with the people of his city. The people of London seem to be weak and full of woe as the marks on their faces reveal "Marks of weakness, marks of woe" (Blake 4). There is a repetition of "marks" which shows the despair and misery that they seem to be facing because of their hard way of life, and are helpless to change. The speaker can hear the crying of babies and men as he walks. "The mind-forg'd manacles I hear" (line 8). He refers to mind-forged which imply they are created internally, but manacles refer chains that are placed on someone. This show the struggle between internal and external forces that take away the people's freedom. He is talking about the mental imprisonment of the people. Referring to the creation of mental restraints, or the psychological imprisonment felt by the people of London. .
In the third stanza, the author uses imagery of evil and religion. The "chimney-sweeper's cry"(line 9) symbolizes the society trying to clean the ashes that cause the depression.