Thursday, 26 May 2011

Editorial call for: reactions, opinions, analysis...

The Chimney Sweeper  - by William Blake
(from Songs of Innocence)

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.

The Chimney Sweeper - by William Blake
(from Songs of Experience)

 A little black thing in 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 smiled among the winter's snow,
 They clothed 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,
 And are gone to praise God and his priest and king,
 Who make up a heaven of our misery."


2x2momma said...

These poems are pretty sad to me. The sweeper was abandoned and orphaned locked up in coffins and had to dream about going to heaven to get them through their difficult job. It makes me feel so sad!

Mama Mary said...

It's been a long time since Blake and I crossed paths. One thing that struck me in the poem in Songs of Innocence is when the chimney sweep could barely say, "weep, weep, weep" and I think he's calling out Sweep, Sweep and yet I'm sure Blake was thinking at the same time that the public should be called to Weep, Weep at the plight of those little guys.

Char said...

@2x2momma - Yes, I agree - heartbreaking!

@Mama Mary - Interesting thoughts - thanks so much for sharing!