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Posts Tagged ‘William Blake’

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,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene,
When Mary and Susan and Emily
With their sweet round mouths sing ‘Ha, ha he!’

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:
Come live, and be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of ‘Ha, ha, he!’

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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,
And to his mother brought,
Who in sorrow pale, through the lonely dale,
Her little boy weeping sought.

 

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“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 child was wet with dew;
The mire was deep, and the child did weep,
And away the vapour flew.

 

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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
That curled like a lamb’s back, was shaved, so I said,
“Hush, Tom! never mind it, for when your head’s bare,
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.”

And so he was quiet, and that very night,
As Tom was a-sleeping he had such a sight!
That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack,
Were all of them locked up in coffins of black;

And by came an Angel who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins and set them all free;
Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing they run,
And wash in a river and shine in the Sun.

Then naked and white, all their bags left behind,
They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind.
And the Angel told Tom, if he’d be a good boy,
He’d have God for his father and never want joy.

And so Tom awoke; and we rose in the dark
And got with our bags and our brushes to work.
Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy and warm;
So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.

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Memory, hither come,
And tune your merry notes:
And, while upon the wind
Your music floats,
I’ll pore upon the stream
Where sighing lovers dream,
And fish for fancies as they pass
Within the watery glass. 

I’ll drink of the clear stream,
And hear the linnet’s song;
And there I’ll lie and dream
The day along:
And when night comes, I’ll go
To places fit for woe,
Walking along the darkened valley
With silent Melancholy.

 

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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,
And, sitting down before the heat of day,
She took me on her lap and kissed me,
And, pointing to the East, began to say:

“Look on the rising sun: there God does live,
And gives His light, and gives His heat away,
And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive
Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday.

“And we are put on earth a little space,
That we may learn to bear the beams of love;
And these black bodies and this sunburnt face
Are but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

“For, when our souls have learned the heat to bear,
The cloud will vanish, we shall hear His voice,
Saying, ‘Come out from the grove, my love and care,
And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.'”

Thus did my mother say, and kissed me,
And thus I say to little English boy.
When I from black, and he from white cloud free,
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 then I’ll stand and stroke his silver hair,
And be like him, and he will then love me.

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Links to analysis:

http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/blake/section4.rhtml

http://www.gradesaver.com/songs-of-innocence-and-of-experience/study-guide/summary-the-little-black-boy

http://www.tate.org.uk/learn/online-resources/william-blake/songs-innocence-and-experience/songs-innocence-little-black-boy

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Black_Boy 

https://poemanalysis.com/the-little-black-boy-by-william-blake-poem-analysis/

 

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And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England’s mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic mills?

Bring me my  bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.

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Whether on Ida’s shady brow,
Or in the chambers of the East,
The chambers of the sun, that now
From ancient melody have ceas’d;

Whether in Heaven ye wander fair,
Or the green corners of the earth,
Or the blue regions of the air
Where the melodious winds have birth;

Whether on coastal rocks ye rove
Beneath the bosom of the sea
Wand’ring in many a coral grove,
For Nine, forsaking Poetry!

How have you left the ancient love
That bards of old enjoy’d in you!
The languid strings do scarcely move!
The sound is forc’d, the notes are few!

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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
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 when they heart began to beat,
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
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

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The photo is mine of a picture that hangs in my office.

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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,
Striving against my swaddling bands,
Bound and weary, I thought best
To sulk upon my mother’s breast.

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