‘The directness and harshness with which Shelley captured London through the depiction of its people could not benefit Baudelaire’s Paris.
Hell is a city much like London,
A populous and a smoky city;
There are all sorts of people undone,
And there is little or no fun done;
Small justice shown, and still less pity.
[Percy Bysshe Shelley, ‘Peter Bell the Third Part’, Complete Poetical Works, London, 1932, p. 346. [Benjamin quoted this verse in a German version by Bertolt Brecht.]’ (‘The Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire’, 59)