Interesting Literature

The greatest London poems

Poetry is perhaps more readily associated with the natural world and the countryside than the world of smog and streets, shops and tower blocks, that we call the city. But throughout the history of English literature, famous poets have been drawn to the city of London as a subject for poetry – and so below we have chosen ten of the best poems about London, from the Middle Ages to the modern age. What do you think are the finest London poems?

William Dunbar, ‘To the City of London’. ‘Soveraign of cities, semeliest in sight’: so the Scottish poet William Dunbar (c. 1460-c. 1530) addresses London in this poem in praise of the capital. Nearly 500 years before Prince Charles disparagingly referred to the extension to the National Gallery as a ‘monstrous carbuncle’, Dunbar was favourably describing the whole city as a ‘myghty carbuncle’…

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