Friday 23 March 2012

Songs of Innocence: The Chimney Sweeper, by William Blake

The poem, ‘The Chimney Sweeper’ is set against the dark background of child slavery that was well-known in England in the late 18th and 19th Century”.

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.

Click on the links below to read two poem analyses.

The Chimney Sweeper. Poem Analysis by Krystle Hernandez

The Chimney Sweeper. Poem Analysis by Ebey Soman



1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this Blake's poem.
    In my last album " Ode to William Blake " I sing it in .........