Introduction to Western Humanities

William Blake, "London"

I wander through each charteredo street
Near where the charteredo Thames does flow,
And marko in every face I meet
Markso of weakness, marks of woe.
o chartered: defined by law
o chartered: artificially channeled
o mark: notice
o marks: signs; scars
In every cryo of every man,
In every Infant's cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,o
The mind-forged manacleso I hear.
o cry: of people "crying their wares"; shouts
o  ban: prohibition
o  manacles: handcuffs, leg-irons
How the Chimney-sweeper's cry
Every black'ningo Church appalls;
And the hapless Soldier's sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls.
black'ning: [Transitive and intransitive.]
But most through midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlot's curseo
Blasts the new-born Infant's tear,
And blights with plagueso the Marriage hearse.
o  curse: Perhaps "A pox upon you!"
o plagues: venereal diseases


(1) What "mind-forged manacles" of a religious sort make possible the use of children as chimney-sweepers?

(2) What political beliefs are crucial in the maintenance of armies?

(3) What socially fostered attitudes about sexuality make for a market in sex?


  Go to Voltaire's dialogue on "Freedom of Thought" from the Philosophical Dictionary.

  Go to the introduction to Immanuel Kant's "What Is Enlightenment?"

  Suggestions are welcome.  Please send your comments to .

      Contents copyright 1997 by Lyman A. Baker

Permission is granted for non-commercial educational use; all other rights reserved.

  This page last updated 09 December 2001.