Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
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William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
 
Songs of Experience
The Chimney-sweeper
 
A LITTLE 1 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,        5
And smil’d among the winter’s snow,
They clothèd me in the clothes of death,
And taught me to sing the notes of woe.
 
‘And because I am happy and dance and sing,
They think they have done me no injury,        10
And are gone to praise God and His Priest and King,
Who make up a Heaven of our misery.’
 
Note 1. The Chimney-sweeper] The original draft of this song in the Rossetti MS. shows that Blake at first intended the second and third stanzas to form a poem complete in itself. The first stanza and title were an afterthought, written in pencil upon a different page. Cp. also the quatrain placed by me among Gnomic Verses (p. 194), ‘There souls of men are bought and sold,’ which may possibly have been written with the intention of its forming another stanza of this song. 3 Where are they, father and mother, say? MS. 4 to the church] to church MS. 6 winter’s snow] wintry wind [alt. to snow] MS. 12 Who wrap themselves up in our misery MS. 1st rdg. del. [back]
 
 
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