Songs of Innocence and of Experience

by

WILLIAM BLAKE
1789-1794

DjVu Editions E-books

© 2001, Global Language Resources, Inc.

Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience
Table of Contents
SONGS OF INNOCENCE . . INTRODUCTION . . . THE SHEPHERD . . . THE ECHOING GREEN . . THE LAMB . . . . . THE LITTLE BLACK BOY . THE BLOSSOM . . . . THE CHIMNEY-SWEEPER . THE LITTLE BOY LOST . . THE LITTLE BOY FOUND . LAUGHING SONG . . . A SONG . . . . . DIVINE IMAGE . . . . HOLY THURSDAY . . . NIGHT . . . . . . SPRING . . . . . NURSE’S SONG . . . INFANT JOY . . . . A DREAM . . . . . ON ANOTHER’S SORROW . SONGS OF EXPERIENCE . . INTRODUCTION . . . EARTH’S ANSWER . . . THE CLOD AND THE PEBBLE HOLY THURSDAY . . . THE LITTLE GIRL LOST . THE LITTLE GIRL FOUND . THE CHIMNEY SWEEPER . NURSE’S SONG . . . THE SICK ROSE . . . THE FLY . . . . . THE ANGEL . . . . THE TIGER . . . . . MY PRETTY ROSE TREE . AH SUNFLOWER . . . THE LILY . . . . . THE GARDEN OF LOVE . THE LITTLE VAGABOND . LONDON . . . . . THE HUMAN ABSTRACT . INFANT SORROW . . . A POISON TREE . . . A LITTLE BOY LOST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 17 18 19 20 21 21 22 23 24 25 27 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44

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A LITTLE GIRL LOST . . . . THE SCHOOLBOY . . . . . TO TERZAH . . . . . . THE VOICE OF THE ANCIENT BARD

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Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience

SONGS OF INNOCENCE

SONGS OF INNOCENCE INTRODUCTION
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!’’ So I piped with merry cheer. ‘‘Piper, pipe that song again;’’ So I piped: he wept to hear. ‘‘Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe; Sing thy songs of happy cheer:!’’ So I sang the same again, While he wept with joy to hear. ‘‘Piper, sit thee down and write In a book, that all may read.’’ So he vanish’d from my sight; And I pluck’d a hollow reed, And I made a rural pen, And I stain’d the water clear, And I wrote my happy songs Every child may joy to hear.

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He shall follow his sheep all the day. He is watching while they are in peace.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE SHEPHERD THE SHEPHERD How sweet is the Shepherd’s sweet lot! From the morn to the evening he stays. And his tongue shall be filled with praise. For he hears the lambs’ innocent call. For they know when their Shepherd is nigh. And he hears the ewes’ tender reply. -2- .

And our sports have an end. Are ready for rest. No more can be merry: The sun does descend. Does laugh away care. Round the laps of their mothers Many sisters and brothers.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE ECHOING GREEN THE ECHOING GREEN The sun does arise. And sport no more seen On the darkening green. Sing louder around To the bells’ cheerful sound. Among the old folk. weary. Sitting under the oak. They laugh at our play. Old John. While our sports shall be seen On the echoing Green. And soon they all say. -3- . The birds of the bush. The skylark and thrush. Like birds in their nest. with white hair. such were the joys When we all — girls and boys — In our youth-time were seen On the echoing Green.’’ Till the little ones. And make happy the skies. The merry bells ring To welcome the Spring. ‘‘Such.

who make thee Dost thou know who made thee. He became a little child. and bid thee feed By the stream and o’er the mead. who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee? Little Lamb. Little Lamb. Gave thee clothing of delight. For He calls Himself a Lamb He is meek. and He is mild. God bless thee! -4- .Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE LAMB THE LAMB Little Lamb. Making all the vales rejoice? Little Lamb. Softest clothing. Gave thee such a tender voice. bright. and thou a lamb. We are called by His name. Little Lamb. I’ll tell thee. I’ll tell thee: He is called by thy name. wolly. I a child. Gave thee life. God bless thee! Little Lamb.

And then I’ll stand and stroke his silver hair. we shall hear His voice. And. Saying. joy in the noonday. And round the tent of God like lambs we joy I’ll shade him from the heat till he can bear To lean in joy upon our Father’s knee. And be like him. and he will then love me.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE LITTLE BLACK BOY THE LITTLE BLACK BOY My mother bore me in the southern wild. When I from black and he from white cloud free. The cloud will vanish. ’Come out from the grove. But I am black. began to say: ‘‘Look on the rising sun: there God does live. but oh my soul is white! White as an angel is the English child. ‘‘For when our souls have learn’d the heat to bear. and kissed me. ‘‘And we are put on earth a little space. She took me on her lap and kissed me. and gives His heat away. That we may learn to bear the beams of love And these black bodies and this sunburnt face Is but a cloud. And thus I say to little English boy. pointed to the east. And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive Comfort in morning. -5- . And gives His light. sitting down before the heat of day.’’ Thus did my mother say. as if bereaved of light. and like a shady grove. my love and care And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice’. My mother taught me underneath a tree. And I am black. And.

Near my bosom. sobbing. merry sparrow! Under leaves so green A happy blossom Sees you. Seek your cradle narrow. swift as arrow. Pretty. pretty robin! Under leaves so green A happy blossom Hears you sobbing. Near my bosom. pretty robin.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE BLOSSOM THE BLOSSOM Merry. -6- . Pretty.

They rise upon clouds. was shaved. -7- . they run.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE CHIMNEY-SWEEPER THE CHIMNEY-SWEEPER When my mother died I was very young. You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair. And got with our bags and our brushes to work. he had such a sight! — That thousands of sweepers. Then down a green plain. Dick. Then naked and white. when your head’s bare. He’d have God for his father. And the Angel told Tom. And he opened the coffins. And by came an angel. all their bags left behind. and sport in the wind. and never want joy. for. leaping. and in soot I sleep. Though the morning was cold. who cried when his head. And so Tom awoke. they need not fear harm. and that very night. Tom! never mind it. As Tom was a-sleeping. ‘‘Hush. Joe. and Jack. and we rose in the dark. laughing. Ned. who had a bright key. Were all of them locked up in coffins of black. And my father sold me while yet my tongue Could scarcely cry ‘‘Weep! weep! weep! weep!’’ So your chimneys I sweep. if all do their duty. so I said. and shine in the sun. And wash in a river. That curled like a lamb’s back. if he’d be a good boy. Tom was happy and warm: So.’’ And so he was quiet. and let them all free. There’s little Tom Dacre.

speak to you little boy. father. The mire was deep.’’ The night was dark. and the child did weep. And away the vapour flew. father. -8- .Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE LITTLE BOY LOST THE LITTLE BOY LOST ‘‘Father. where are you going? Oh do not walk so fast! Speak. The child was wet with dew. Or else I shall be lost. no father was there.

ever nigh. Led by the wandering light. in white. The little boy weeping sought. He kissed the child. -9- . Who in sorrow pale. Began to cry. through the lonely dale. and by the hand led. Appeared like his father.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE LITTLE BOY FOUND THE LITTLE BOY FOUND The little boy lost in the lonely fen. but God. And to his mother brought.

and join with me. and be merry. ha he!’’ When the painted birds laugh in the shade. When Mary and Susan and Emily With their sweet round mouths sing ‘‘Ha. ha. Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread: Come live. And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience LAUGHING SONG LAUGHING SONG When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy.10 - . And the green hill laughs with the noise of it. he!’’ . To sing the sweet chorus of ‘‘Ha. When the air does laugh with our merry wit. when the meadows laugh with lively green. And the dimpling stream runs laughing by.

Sleep. with soft down Weave thy brows an infant crown Sweet Sleep. All the livelong night beguile. When He was an infant small. Hover o’er my happy child! Sweet smiles. in thy face Holy image I can trace. Infant smiles are his own smiles.11 - .Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience A SONG A SONG Sweet dreams. . Thou His image ever see. for all. on all. While o’er thee doth mother weep. once like thee Thy Maker lay. and wept for me: Wept for me. Chase not slumber from thine eyes! Sweet moan. sleep. angel mild. happy child! All creation slept and smiled. Who became an infant small. Sweet moans. for thee. in the night Hover over my delight! Sweet smiles. Sleep. happy sleep. sweeter smile. mother’s smile. Heavenly face that smiles on thee! Smiles on thee. moony beams! Sweet Sleep. dovelike sighs. form a shade O’er my lovely infant’s head! Sweet dreams of pleasant streams By happy. Sweet babe. All the dovelike moans beguile. Heaven and earth to peace beguiles. sleep. on me. Sweet babe. silent.

Prays to the human form divine: Love. the human form divine. . And all must love the human form. Pity. Turk. the human dress. Pity. Mercy. Love.12 - . Then every man. All pray in their distress. For Mercy has a human heart Pity. Peace. In heathen. his child and care. Peace. a human face. And Peace. or Jew. Peace. Pity. And Mercy. Where Mercy. And Love. For Mercy. Is God our Father dear. Is man. and Pity dwell. That prays in his distress.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience DIVINE IMAGE DIVINE IMAGE To Mercy. of every clime. and Love. Peace. There God is dwelling too. Pity. And to these virtues of delight Return their thankfulness. and Love. and Love.

The hum of multitudes was there. Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands. Now like a mighty wild they raise to heaven the voice of song. with wands as white as snow.13 - . their innocent faces clean. Then cherish pity. . Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among: Beneath them sit the aged man. Till into the high dome of Paul’s they like Thames waters flow. and green: Grey-headed beadles walked before. in read. Came children walking two and two. and blue. but multitudes of lambs. lest you drive an angel from your door. with radiance all their own. these flowers of London town! Seated in companies they sit. wise guardians of the poor. Oh what a multitude they seemed.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience HOLY THURSDAY HOLY THURSDAY ’Twas on a Holy Thursday.

With silent delight. Unseen they pour blessing. And sit down by their bed. When wolves and tigers howl for prey. They pour sleep on their head. And I must seek for mine. They pitying stand and weep. Receive each mild spirit. The moon. And each sleeping bosom. . by His health. The angels. Where flocks have ta’en delight. like a flower In heaven’s high bower. And keep them from the sheep. The birds are silent in their nest. silent move The feet of angels bright. But. And. They look in every thoughtless nest Where birds are covered warm. And there the lion’s ruddy eyes Shall flow with tears of gold: And pitying the tender cries. if they rush dreadful. They visit caves of every beast.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience NIGHT NIGHT The sun descending in the west. And joy without ceasing. Where lambs have nibbled. most heedful. To keep them all from harm: If they see any weeping That should have been sleeping.14 - . sickness. New worlds to inherit. The evening star does shine. And walking round the fold: Saying: ‘‘Wrath by His meekness. Sits and smiles on the night. Farewell. On each bud and blossom. Seeking to drive their thirst away. green fields and happy grove. Are driven away From our immortal day.

I can lie down and sleep. Graze after thee. For.15 - . As I guard o’er the fold. Or think on Him who bore thy name. washed in life’s river. and weep. bleating lamb.’’ .Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience NIGHT ‘‘And now beside thee. My bright mane for ever Shall shine like the gold.

In the dale. Day and night. Here I am. Merrily. . merrily. Merrily merrily. Full of joy. Infant noise. merrily. Cock does crow. Lark in sky. Merry voice. Come and lick My white neck. to welcome in the year. to welcome in the year. Sweet and small. Let me pull Your soft wool.— Merrily. Little lamb. Let me kiss Your soft face.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience SPRING SPRING Sound the flute! Now it’s mute! Bird’s delight. to welcome in the year. Little boy. Nightingale.16 - . So do you. Merrily. Little girl.

no. in the sky the little birds fly. . And laughing is heard on the hill. And then go home to bed. for it is yet day.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience NURSE’S SONG NURSE’S SONG When the voices of children are heard on the green. My heart is at rest within my breast. go and play till the light fades away. Besides. And all the hills echoed. and shouted.’’ ‘‘Well.17 - .’’ The little ones leaped.’’ ‘‘No. And the dews of night arise. Come. And we cannot go to sleep. And the hills are all covered with sheep. ‘‘Then come home. the sun is gone down. well. let us play. And everything else is still. my children. come. leave off play. and laughed. Till the morning appears in the skies. and let us away.

Joy is my name. but two days old. I am but two days old.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience INFANT JOY INFANT JOY ‘‘I have no name. I sing the while.18 - . Sweet Joy I call thee: Thou dost smile. Sweet joy befall thee! .’’ What shall I call thee? ‘‘I happy am.’’ Sweet joy befall thee! Pretty joy! Sweet joy.

I dropped a tear: But I saw a glow-worm near. Dark. and forlorn. All heart-broke. Who replied. hie thee home!’’ . Over many a tangle spray. Now return and weep for me. Do they hear their father sigh? Now they look abroad to see. benighted. ‘‘What wailing wight Calls the watchman of the night? ‘‘I am set to light the ground.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience A DREAM A DREAM Once a dream did weave a shade O’er my angel-guarded bed. I heard her say: ‘‘Oh my children! do they cry. Little wanderer.’’ Pitying.19 - . That an emmet lost its way Where on grass methought I lay. wildered. Troubled. While the beetle goes his round: Follow now the beetle’s hum. travel-worn.

He doth feel the sorrow too. Hear the woes that infants bear — And not sit beside the next. He becomes a man of woe. Weeping tear on infant’s tear? And not sit both night and day. And not seek for kind relief? Can I see a falling tear. nor be with sorrow filled? Can a mother sit and hear An infant groan.20 - . an infant fear? No. Think not thou canst sigh a sigh. Pouring pity in their breast. no! never can it be! Never. And not sit the cradle near. And thy Maker is not year. never can it be! He doth give his joy to all: He becomes an infant small. never can it be! And can He who smiles on all Hear the wren with sorrows small. And not feel my sorrow’s share? Can a father see his child Weep. And not be in sorrow too? Can I see another’s grief. Wiping all our tears away? Oh no! never can it be! Never. Hear the small bird’s grief and care.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience ON ANOTHER’S SORROW ON ANOTHER’S SORROW Can I see another’s woe. Oh He gives to us his joy. And thy Maker is not by: Think not thou canst weep a tear. That our grief He may destroy: Till our grief is fled an gone He doth sit by us and moan. .

And fallen. Calling the lapsed soul. past. return! Arise from out the dewy grass! Night is worn. and future. fallen light renew! ‘‘O Earth. Who present.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience SONGS OF EXPERIENCE SONGS OF EXPERIENCE INTRODUCTION Hear the voice of the Bard. And the morn Rises from the slumbrous mass. Whose ears have heard The Holy Word That walked among the ancient tree. The watery shore.21 - .’’ . And weeping in the evening dew. O Earth. That might control The starry pole. sees. Are given thee till the break of day. Why wilt thou turn away? The starry floor. ‘‘Turn away no more.

Eternal bane. ‘‘Selfish father of men! Cruel. That free love with bondage bound. selfish fear! Can delight. Or the plowman in darkness plough? ‘‘Break this heavy chain. The virgins of youth and morning bear? ‘‘Does spring hide its joy.22 - . Stony. jealous. Starry jealousy does keep my den Cold and hoar. vain. And her locks covered with grey despair. ‘‘Prisoned on watery shore. That does freeze my bones around! Selfish.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience EARTH’S ANSWER EARTH’S ANSWER Earth raised up her head From the darkness dread and drear. When buds and blossoms grow? Does the sower Sow by night. Chained in night. I hear the father of the ancient men. dread. Weeping o’re.’’ . Her light fled.

Nor for itself hath any care. Trodden with the cattle’s feet. And builds a hell in heaven’s despite. Joys in another’s loss of ease. And builds a heaven in hell’s despair.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE CLOD AND THE PEBBLE THE CLOD AND THE PEBBLE ‘‘Love seeketh not itself to please. To bind another to its delight.’’ So sang a little clod of clay.23 - . But a pebble of the brook Warbled out these metres meet: ‘‘Love seeketh only Self to please.’’ . But for another gives it ease.

Babes should never hunger there. And where’er the rain does fall. Fed with cold and usurous hand? Is that trembling cry a song? Can it be a song of joy? And so many children poor? It is a land of poverty! And their son does never shine. And their ways are filled with thorns: It is eternal winter there. — Babes reduced to misery. For where’er the sun does shine. And their fields are bleak and bare. . Nor poverty the mind appall.24 - .Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience HOLY THURSDAY HOLY THURSDAY Is this a holy thing to see In a rich and fruitful land.

Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE LITTLE GIRL LOST THE LITTLE GIRL LOST In futurity I prophetic see That the earth from sleep (Grave the sentence deep) Shall arise. and seek for her Maker meek.25 - . ‘‘Frowning. Lovely Lyca lay. She had wandered long. Then let Lyca wake. And the desert wild Become a garden mild. How can Lyca sleep If her mother weep? ‘‘If her heart does ache. weep? Where can Lyca sleep? ‘‘Lost in desert wild Is your little child. ‘‘Sweet sleep. .’’ Sleeping Lyca lay While the beasts of prey. Seven summers old Lovely Lyca told. O’er this desert bright Let thy moon arise. Come from caverns deep. Hearing wild birds’ song. Viewed the maid asleep. frowning night. In the southern clime. Lyca shall not weep. If my mother sleep. come to me Underneath this tree. mother. While I close my eyes. Do father. Where the summer’s prime Never fades away.

And her breast did lick And upon her neck.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE LITTLE GIRL LOST The kingly lion stood. Leopards. And naked they conveyed To caves the sleeping maid. And the virgin viewed: Then he gambolled round O’er the hallowed ground. From his eyes of flame. play Round her as she lay. tigers. While the lioness Loosed her slender dress. .26 - . Ruby tears there came. While the lion old Bowed his mane of gold.

27 - . Seven nights they sleep Among shadows deep. weeping. While the deserts weep.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE LITTLE GIRL FOUND THE LITTLE GIRL FOUND All the night in woe Lyca’s parents go Over valleys deep. With hollow piteous shriek. Rising from unrest. Till before their way A couching lion lay. They look upon his eyes. And silent by them stands. Then he stalked around. In his arms he bore Her. Tired and woe-begone. And dream they see their child Starved in desert wild. seven days They traced the desert ways. Pale through pathless ways The fancied image strays. Turning back was vain: Soon his heavy mane Bore them to the ground. armed with sorrow sore. Arm in arm. But their fears allay When he licks their hands. The trembling woman presse With feet of weary woe. weak. She could no further go. Smelling to his prey. Hoarse with making moan. Famished. Filled with deep surprise. . And wondering behold A spirit armed in gold.

To this day they dwell In a lonely dell. Gone was all their care.’’ Then they followed Where the vision led. And saw their sleeping child Among tigers wild.28 - . Lyca lies asleep.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE LITTLE GIRL FOUND On his head a crown. . ‘‘Follow me. On his shoulders down Flowed his golden hair. Nor fear the wolvish howl Nor the lion’s growl. In my palace deep. ‘‘Weep not for the maid.’’ he said.

‘‘Because I was happy upon the heath. Who make up a heaven of our misery. They clothed me in the clothes of death. They think they have done me no injury. And are gone to praise God and his priest and king.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE CHIMNEY SWEEPER THE CHIMNEY SWEEPER A little black thing in the snow. And smiled among the winter’s snow.’’ . And taught me to sing the notes of woe. Crying ‘‘weep! weep!’’ in notes of woe! ‘‘Where are thy father and mother? Say!’’— ‘‘They are both gone up to the church to pray. ‘‘And because I am happy and dance and sing.29 - .

30 - . And whisperings are in the dale. My face turns green and pale. Your spring and your day are wasted in play.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience NURSE’S SONG NURSE’S SONG When voices of children are heard on the green. And the dews of night arise. the sun is gone down. And your winter and night in disguise. Then come home. my children. The days of my youth rise fresh in my mind. .

31 - .Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE SICK ROSE THE SICK ROSE O rose. That flies in the night. Has found out thy bed Of crimson joy. thou art sick! The invisible worm. And his dark secret love Does thy life destroy. In the howling storm. .

Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE FLY THE FLY Little Fly. and sing. If thought is life And strength and breath And the want Of thought is death. . Or if I die. Thy summer’s play My thoughtless hand Has brushed away. Am not I A fly like thee? Or art not thou A man like me? For I dance And drink. Till some blind hand Shall brush my wing.32 - . Then am I A happy fly. If I live.

For the time of youth was fled. he came in vain. And grey hairs were on my head. And I wept both day and night.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE ANGEL THE ANGEL 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. Then the morn blushed rosy red. and armed my fears With ten-thousand shields and spears. I dried my tears. And he wiped my tears away.33 - . I was armed. And hid from him my heart’s delight. So he took his wings. . Soon my Angel came again. and fled.

Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE TIGER THE TIGER Tiger. And watered heaven with their tears. Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the lamb make thee? Tiger. tiger. when thy heart began to beat. burning bright In the forests of the night. What dread hand and what dread feet? What the hammer? what the chain? In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? what dread grasp Dare its deadly terrors clasp? When the stars threw down their spears. What immortal hand or eye Could Frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand dare seize the fire? And what shoulder and what art Could twist the sinews of thy heart? And. burning bright In the forest of the night. tiger. What immortal hand or eye Dare frame thy fearful symmetry? .34 - .

Such a flower as May never bore.35 - . But my rose turned away with jealousy. To tend her by day and by night. But I said ‘‘I’ve a pretty rose tree.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience MY PRETTY ROSE TREE MY PRETTY ROSE TREE A flower was offered to me. Then I went to my pretty rose tree. .’’ And I passed the sweet flower o’er. And her thorns were my only delight.

Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience AH SUNFLOWER AH SUNFLOWER Ah Sunflower. Who countest the steps of the sun. weary of time. Arise from their graves. Seeking after that sweet golden clime Where the traveller’s journey is done. And the pale virgin shrouded in snow. Where the Youth pined away with desire. and aspire Where my Sunflower wishes to go! .36 - .

.37 - . 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.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE LILY THE LILY The modest Rose puts forth a thorn.

Driven out. A Chapel was built in the midst. And the gates of this Chapel were shut And ‘‘Thou shalt not. And saw what I never had seen. And they told me how they were beguiled. I heard among the rushes dank Weeping.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE GARDEN OF LOVE THE GARDEN OF LOVE I laid me down upon a bank. And I saw it was filled with graves. To the thistles and thorns of the waste. Where Love lay sleeping. . And tombstones where flowers should be. Where I used to play on the green.38 - . So I turned to the Garden of Love That so many sweet flowers bore. I went to the Garden of Love. And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds. Then I went to the heath and the wild. And binding with briars my joys and desires.’’ writ over the door. and compelled to the chaste. weeping.

nor birch. rejoicing to see His children as pleasant and happy as he. And a pleasant fire our souls to regale. like a father. and drink. nor fasting. The poor parsons with wind like a blown bladder swell. Besides. and sing. and give him both drink and apparel. Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the barrel. and warm. And we’d be as happy as birds in the spring. dear mother. if at the Church they would give us some ale. But kiss him. We’d sing and we’d pray all the livelong day.39 - .Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE LITTLE VAGABOND THE LITTLE VAGABOND Dear mother. But the Alehouse is healthy. . And God. Would not have bandy children. and pleasant. Then the Parson might preach. who is always at church. And modest Dame Lurch. But. the Church is cold. I can tell where I am used well. Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray.

Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience LONDON LONDON I wandered through each chartered street. And blights with plagues the marriage-hearse. .40 - . In every infant’s cry of fear. in every ban. through midnight streets I hear How the youthful harlot’s curse Blasts the new-born infant’s tear. Marks of weakness. But most. The mind-forged manacles I hear: How the chimney-sweeper’s cry Every blackening church appals. And mark in every face I meet. In every cry of every man. In every voice. Near where the chartered Thames does flow. And the hapless soldier’s sigh Runs in blood down palace-walls. marks of woe.

And the raven his nest has made In its thickest shade. And waters the ground with tears. . And spreads his baits with care. Ruddy and sweet to eat. Then Humility takes its root Underneath his foot. Soon spreads the dismal shade Of Mystery over his head. And the caterpillar and fly Feed on the Mystery. But their search was all in vain: There grows one in the human Brain. Till the selfish loves increase Then Cruelty knits a snare. And mutual fear brings Peace. And it bears the fruit of Deceit. He sits down with his holy fears.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE HUMAN ABSTRACT THE HUMAN ABSTRACT Pity would be no more If we did not make somebody poor. The gods of the earth and sea Sought through nature to find this tree.41 - . And Mercy no more could be If all were as happy as we.

. Struggling in my father’s hands. Helpless. Like a fiend hid in a cloud. my father wept: Into the dangerous world I leapt. Bound and weary. naked. Striving against my swaddling-bands. piping loud. I thought best To sulk upon my mother’s breast.42 - .Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience INFANT SORROW INFANT SORROW My mother groaned.

And I sunned it with smiles And with soft deceitful wiles. And I watered it in fears Night and morning with my tears. my wrath did end. In the morning. And it grew both day and night.43 - .Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience A POISON TREE A POISON TREE I was angry with my friend: I told my wrath. my wrath did grow. — And into my garden stole When the night had veiled the pole. Till it bore an apple bright. I see My foe outstretched beneath the tree. I was angry with my foe: I told it not. . And my foe beheld it shine. and he knew that it was mine. glad.

He led him by his little coat.’’ The weeping child could not be heard.44 - . how can I love you Or any of my brothers more? I love you like the little bird That picks up crumbs around the door.’’ The Priest sat by and heard the child. father. ‘‘Lo. Nor venerates another so. Nor is it possible to thought A greater than itself to know. And all admired the priestly care. The weeping parents wept in vain. And burned him in a holy place Where many had been burned before. In trembling zeal he seized his hair.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience A LITTLE BOY LOST A LITTLE BOY LOST ‘‘Nought loves another as itself. what a fiend is here! said he: ‘‘One who sets reason up for judge Of our most holy mystery. Are such thing done on Albion’s shore? . And standing on the altar high. The weeping parents wept in vain: They stripped him to his little shirt. And bound him in an iron chain. ‘‘And.

To thy father speak! Oh the trembling fear! Oh the dismal care That shakes the blossoms of my hoary hair!’’ . They agree to meet When the silent sleep Waves o’er heaven’s deep. And the weary tired wanderers weep. ‘‘Ona.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience A LITTLE GIRL LOST A LITTLE GIRL LOST Children of the future age. in rising day. Youth and maiden bright. Reading this indignant page. Strangers came not near. sweet love. But his loving look. On the grass they play. pale and weak. Met in garden bright Where the holy light Had just removed the curtains of the night. Filled with softest care. In the age of gold.45 - . Naked in the sunny beams delight. Tired with kisses sweet. Then. Like the holy book All her tender limbs with terror shook. Parents were afar. And the maiden soon forgot her fear. Know that in a former time Love. was thought a crime. To the holy light. Once a youthful pair. Free from winter’s cold. To her father white Came the maiden bright.

Or bless the mellowing year. By sorrow and care’s dismay.46 - . Worn through with the dreary shower. The distant huntsman winds his horn. if buds are nipped. Nor sit in learning’s bower. When birds are singing on every tree. When the blasts of winter appear? . But droop his tender wing. And blossoms blown away. And forget his youthful spring? Oh father and mother. when fears annoy. Ah then at times I drooping sit. The little ones spend the day In sighing and dismay. And the skylark sings with me: Oh what sweet company! But to go to school in a summer morn. Nor in my book can I take delight. Or the summer fruits appear? Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy. And if the tender plants are stripped Of their joy in the springing day. And spend many an anxious hour. How can the bird that is born for joy Sit in a cage and sing? How can a child.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE SCHOOLBOY THE SCHOOLBOY I love to rise on a summer morn. — How shall the summer arise in joy. — Oh it drives all joy away! Under a cruel eye outworn.

To rise from generation free: Then what have I to do with thee? The sexes sprang from shame and pride. mother of my mortal part. The sexes rose to work and weep. The death of Jesus set me free: Then what have I to do with thee? .47 - . Didst close my tongue in senseless clay. Thou. in evening died. eyes. Blown in the morn. And me to mortal life betray.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience TO TERZAH TO TERZAH Whate’er is born of mortal birth Must be consumed with the earth. With cruelty didst mould my heart. and ears. But mercy changed death into sleep. And with false self-deceiving tears Didst bind my nostrils.

Dark disputes and artful teazing. How many have fallen there! They stumble all night over bones of the dead. And wish to lead others. Tangled roots perplex her ways. And feel — they know not what but care. and clouds of reason.48 - . . Folly is an endless maze. Image of Truth new-born. when they should be led.Blake: Songs of Innocence & Experience THE VOICE OF THE ANCIENT BARD THE VOICE OF THE ANCIENT BARD Youth of delight! come hither And see the opening morn. Doubt is fled.

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