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Title: Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience
Author: William Blake
Release Date: October, 1999 [Etext #1934]
[Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule]
[This HTML edition was first posted on March 28, 2003]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK, SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE ***
This eBook was converted to HTML, with additional editing, by Jose Menendez from the Etext prepared by David Price from the 1901 R. Brimley Johnson edition.
SONGS OF INNOCENCE
The Echoing Green
The Little Black Boy
The Little Boy Lost
The Little Boy Found
A Cradle Song
The Divine Image
On Another’s Sorrow
Piping down the valleys wild,|
Piping songs of pleasant glee,
On a cloud I saw a child,
And he laughing said to me:
‘Pipe a song about a Lamb!’
‘Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;
‘Piper, sit thee down and write
And I made a rural pen,
How sweet is the shepherd’s sweet lot!|
From the morn to the evening he strays;
He shall follow his sheep all the day,
And his tongue shall be filled with praise.
For he hears the lambs’ innocent call,
The sun does arise,|
And make happy the skies;
The merry bells ring
To welcome the Spring;
The skylark and thrush,
The birds of the bush,
Sing louder around
To the bells’ cheerful sound;
While our sports shall be seen
On the echoing green.
Old John, with white hair,
Till the little ones, weary,
Little lamb, who made thee?|
Does thou know who made thee,
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o’er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little lamb, who made thee?
Does thou know who made thee?
Little lamb, I’ll tell thee;
My mother bore me in the southern wild,|
And I am black, but O my soul is white!
White as an angel is the English child,
But I am black, as if bereaved of light.
My mother taught me underneath a tree,
‘Look on the rising sun: there God does live,
‘And we are put on earth a little space,
‘For, when our souls have learned the heat to bear,
Thus did my mother say, and kissed me,
I’ll shade him from the heat till he can bear
Merry, merry sparrow!|
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom
Sees you, swift as arrow,
Seek your cradle narrow,
Near my bosom.
Pretty, pretty robin!
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom
Hears you sobbing, sobbing,
Pretty, pretty robin,
Near my bosom.
When my mother died I was very young,|
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry ‘Weep! weep! weep! weep!’
So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep.
There’s little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head,
And so he was quiet, and that very night,
And by came an angel, who had a bright key,
Then naked and white, all their bags left behind,
And so Tom awoke, and we rose in the dark,
‘Father, father, where are you going?|
O do not walk so fast!
Speak, father, speak to your little boy,
Or else I shall be lost.’
The night was dark, no father was there,
The little boy lost in the lonely fen,|
Led by the wandering light,
Began to cry, but God, ever nigh,
Appeared like his father, in white.
He kissed the child, and by the hand led,
When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,|
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;
When the meadows laugh with lively green,
When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Sweet dreams, form a shade|
O’er my lovely infant’s head!
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams
By happy, silent, moony beams!
Sweet Sleep, with soft down
Sweet smiles, in the night
Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
Sleep, sleep, happy child!
Sweet babe, in thy face
Wept for me, for thee, for all,
Smiles on thee, on me, on all,
To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,|
All pray in their distress,
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.
For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
For Mercy has a human heart;
Then every man, of every clime,
And all must love the human form,
’Twas on a holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,|
The children walking two and two, in red, and blue, and green:
Grey-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Paul’s they like Thames waters flow.
O what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!
Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
The sun descending in the West,|
The evening star does shine;
The birds are silent in their nest,
And I must seek for mine.
The moon, like a flower
In heaven’s high bower,
With silent delight,
Sits and smiles on the night.
Farewell, green fields and happy groves,
They look in every thoughtless nest
When wolves and tigers howl for prey,
And there the lion’s ruddy eyes
‘And now beside thee, bleating lamb,
Sound the flute!|
Now it’s mute!
Day and night,
In the dale,
Lark in sky,—
Merrily, merrily to welcome in the year.
When voices of children are heard on the green,|
And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast,
And everything else is still.
‘Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down,
And the dews of night arise;
Come, come, leave off play, and let us away,
Till the morning appears in the skies.’
‘No, no, let us play, for it is yet day,
‘I have no name;|
I am but two days old.’
What shall I call thee?
‘I happy am,
Joy is my name.’
Sweet joy befall thee!
Once a dream did weave a shade|
O’er my angel-guarded bed,
That an emmet lost its way
Where on grass methought I lay.
Troubled, wildered, and forlorn,
‘O my children! do they cry,
Pitying, I dropped a tear:
‘I am set to light the ground,
Can I see another’s woe,|
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another’s grief,
And not seek for kind relief?
Can I see a falling tear,
Can a mother sit and hear
And can He who smiles on all
And not sit beside the nest,
And not sit both night and day,
He doth give His joy to all:
Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
O He gives to us His joy,
Hear the voice of the Bard,|
Who present, past, and future, sees;
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word
That walked among the ancient trees;
Calling the lapsed soul,
‘O Earth, O Earth, return!
‘Turn away no more;
Earth raised up her head|
From the darkness dread and drear,
Her light fled,
And her locks covered with grey despair.
‘Prisoned on watery shore,
‘Selfish father of men!
‘Does spring hide its joy,
‘Break this heavy chain,
‘Love seeketh not itself to please,|
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a heaven in hell’s despair.’
So sung a little clod of clay,
‘Love seeketh only Self to please,
Is this a holy thing to see|
In a rich and fruitful land,—
Babes reduced to misery,
Fed with cold and usurous hand?
Is that trembling cry a song?
And their sun does never shine,
For where’er the sun does shine,
That the earth from sleep
(Grave the sentence deep)
Shall arise, and seek
In the southern clime,
Seven summers old
‘Sweet sleep, come to me,
‘Lost in desert wild
‘If her heart does ache,
‘Frowning, frowning night,
Sleeping Lyca lay,
The kingly lion stood,
Leopards, tigers, play
And her bosom lick,
While the lioness
All the night in woe|
Lyca’s parents go
Over valleys deep,
While the deserts weep.
Tired and woe-begone,
Seven nights they sleep
Pale through pathless ways
Rising from unrest,
In his arms he bore
Turning back was vain:
Smelling to his prey;
They look upon his eyes,
On his head a crown,
‘Follow me,’ he said;
Then they followed
To this day they dwell
A little black thing among the snow,|
Crying! ‘weep! weep!’ in notes of woe!
‘Where are thy father and mother? Say!’—
‘They are both gone up to the church to pray.
‘Because I was happy upon the heath,
‘And because I am happy and dance and sing,
When the voices of children are heard on the green,|
And whisperings are in the dale,
The days of my youth rise fresh in my mind,
My face turns green and pale.
Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down,
O rose, thou art sick!|
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,
Has found out thy bed
Thy summer’s play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.
Am not I
For I dance,
If thought is life
Then am I
I dreamt a dream! What can it mean?|
And that I was a maiden Queen
Guarded by an Angel mild:
Witless woe was ne’er beguiled!
And I wept both night and day,
So he took his wings, and fled;
Soon my Angel came again;
Tiger, tiger, burning bright|
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
And what shoulder and what art
What the hammer? what the chain?
When the stars threw down their spears,
Tiger, tiger, burning bright
A flower was offered to me,|
Such a flower as May never bore;
But I said, ‘I’ve a pretty rose tree,’
And I passed the sweet flower o’er.
Then I went to my pretty rose tree,
Ah, sunflower, weary of time,|
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done;
Where the Youth pined away with desire,
The modest Rose puts forth a thorn,|
The humble sheep a threat’ning horn:
While the Lily white shall in love delight,
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.
I went to the Garden of Love,|
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.
And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And I saw it was filled with graves,
Dear mother, dear mother, the Church is cold;|
But the Alehouse is healthy, and pleasant, and warm.
Besides, I can tell where I am used well;
Such usage in heaven will never do well.
But, if at the Church they would give us some ale,
Then the Parson might preach, and drink, and sing,
And God, like a father, rejoicing to see
I wander through each chartered street,|
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
A mark in every face I meet,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
In every cry of every man,
How the chimney-sweeper’s cry
But most, through midnight streets I hear
Pity would be no more|
If we did not make somebody poor,
And Mercy no more could be
If all were as happy as we.
And mutual fear brings Peace,
He sits down with his holy fears,
Soon spreads the dismal shade
And it bears the fruit of Deceit,
The gods of the earth and sea
My mother groaned, my father wept:|
Into the dangerous world I leapt,
Helpless, naked, piping loud,
Like a fiend hid in a cloud.
Struggling in my father’s hands,
I was angry with my friend:|
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I watered it in fears
And it grew both day and night,
And into my garden stole
‘Nought loves another as itself,|
Nor venerates another so,
Nor is it possible to thought
A greater than itself to know.
‘And, father, how can I love you
The Priest sat by and heard the child;
And standing on the altar high,
The weeping child could not be heard,
And burned him in a holy place
Children of the future age,|
Reading this indignant page,
Know that in a former time
Love, sweet love, was thought a crime.
In the age of gold,
Once a youthful pair,
There, in rising day,
Tired with kisses sweet,
To her father white
‘Ona, pale and weak,
Cruelty has a human heart,|
And Jealousy a human face;
Terror the human form divine,
And Secrecy the human dress.
The human dress is forged iron,
Sleep, sleep, beauty bright,|
Dreaming in the joys of night;
Sleep, sleep; in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.
Sweet babe, in thy face
As thy softest limbs I feel,
O the cunning wiles that creep
I love to rise in a summer morn,|
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the skylark sings with me:
O what sweet company!
But to go to school in a summer morn,—
Ah then at times I drooping sit,
How can the bird that is born for joy
O father and mother, if buds are nipped,
How shall the summer arise in joy,
Whate’er is born of mortal birth|
Must be consumed with the earth,
To rise from generation free:
Then what have I to do with thee?
The sexes sprung from shame and pride,
Thou, mother of my mortal part,
Didst close my tongue in senseless clay,
Youth of delight! come hither|
And see the opening morn,
Image of Truth new-born.
Doubt is fled, and clouds of reason,
Dark disputes and artful teazing.
Folly is an endless maze;
Tangled roots perplex her ways;
How many have fallen there!
They stumble all night over bones of the dead;
And feel—they know not what but care;
And wish to lead others, when they should be led.
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