The City is the Centre of its Commerce and Wealth. The Court of its Gallantry and Splendor. The Out-parts of its Numbers and Mechanicks; and in all these, no City in the World can equal it.
Daniel Defoe (1660-1731), Vision of Britain Letter 5 (London), Part 2: The City
. . . the lowest and vilest alleys of London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful country-side.
Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Copper Beeches
Houses, churches, mixed together; Streets unpleasant in all weather; / Prisons, palaces contiguous, / Gates, a bridge, the Thames irriguous.
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Many a beau without a shilling, / Many a widow not unwilling; / Many a bargain, if you strike it: / This is London! How d’ye like it?
John Bancks (1709-1751), A Description of London
The essential qualities of the city are closeness variety, and intricacy, and the ever-recurring contrasts of tall and low, of large and small, of wide and narrow, of straight and crooked, the closes and retreats and odd leafy corners.
Sir Nikolaus Pevsner (1902-1983)
The sight of London to my exil’d eyes / Is as Elysium to a new-come soul;
Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593), Edward II