William Blake

Songs of Innocence

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 chear,
Piper pipe that song again —
So I piped, he wept to hear.

Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe,
Sing thy songs of happy chear,
So I sung 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 vanished from my sight;
And I pluck'd a hollow reed.

And I made a rural pen,
And I stained the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear.

The Shepherd
How sweet is the shepherd’s sweet lot,
From the morn to the evening he strays;
He shall follow his sheep all the day
And his tongue shall be filled with praise.

For he hears the lambs’ innocent call,
And he hears the ewes’ tender reply,
He is watchful while they are in peace,
For they know when their shepherd is nigh.

The Ecchoing Green
The sun does arise,
And make happy the skies.
The merry bells ring
To welcome the Spring.
The skylark and thrush,
The birds of the bush,
Sing louder around.
To the bells’ chearful sound.
While our sports shall be seen
On the Ecchoing Green.

Old John, with white hair
Does laugh away care,
Sitting under the oak,
Among the old folk,
They laugh at our play.
And soon they all say,
Such, such were the joys.
When we all girls & boys.
In our youth-time were seen.
On the Ecchoing Green.

Till the little ones weary
No more can be merry
The sun does descend,
And our sports have an end.:
Round the laps of their mothers.
Many sisters and brothers,
Like birds in their nest,
Are ready for rest:
And sport no more seen,
On the darkening Green.

The Lamb 
Little lamb, who made thee?
   Does thou know who made thee
Gave thee life & bid thee feed,
By the stream & o’er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice:
   Little Lamb who made thee
   Does thou know who made thee

   Little Lamb I’ll tell thee,
   Little Lamb I’ll tell thee:
He is callèd by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb:
He is meek, & He is mild,
He became a little child:
I a child, & thou a lamb,
We are callèd by His name.
   Little Lamb God bless thee.
   Little Lamb God bless thee.

The Little Black Boy
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 bereav'd 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   
Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

For when our souls have learn'd the heat to bear   
The cloud will vanish, we shall hear His voice.
Saying: come out from the grove my love & 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.

The Blossom
Merry Merry sparrow!
Under leaves so green
A happy Blossom
Sees you, swift as arrow,
Seek your cradle narrow
Near my Bosom.

Pretty Pretty robin!
Under leaves so green
A happy Blossom
Hears you sobbing, sobbing,
Pretty Pretty Robin,
Near my Bosom.

The Chimney Sweeper
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, & in soot I sleep.

Theres little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head
That curl'd like a lambs back, was shav’d, 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, & that very night,
As Tom was a-sleeping he had such a sight,
That thousands of sweepers Dick, Joe, Ned, & Jack
Were all of them lock’d up in coffins of black,

And by came an Angel who had a bright key
And he opened the coffins, & 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 & 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, & never want joy.

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

The Little Boy lost
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, & the child did weep
And away the vapour flew.

The Little Boy Found
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 & by the hand led
And to his mother brought,
Who in sorrow pale, thro' the lonely dale
Her little boy weeping sought.

 Laughing Song
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, & be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of Ha, Ha, He.

A Cradle Song
Sweet dreams, form a shade
O’er my lovely infant’s head!
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams
By happy, silent, moony beams!

Sweet Sleep, with soft down
Weave thy brows an infant crown!
Sweet Sleep, angel mild,
Hover o’er my happy child!

Sweet smiles, in the night
Hover over my delight!
Sweet smiles, mother’s smiles,
All the livelong night beguiles.

Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
Chase not slumber from thy eyes!
Sweet moans, sweeter smiles,
All the dovelike moans beguiles.

Sleep, sleep, happy child!
All creation slept and smiled.
Sleep, sleep, happy sleep,
While o’er thee thy mother weep.

Sweet babe, in thy face
Holy image I can trace;
Sweet babe, once like thee
Thy Maker lay, and wept for me

Wept for me, for thee, for all,
When He was an infant small.
Thou His image ever see,
Heavenly face that smiles on thee.

Smiles on thee, on me, on all,
Who became an infant small;
Infant smiles are His own smiles;
Heaven and earth to peace beguiles.

The Divine Image
To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,   
   All pray in their distress,
   And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
   Is God our Father dear;
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love,
   Is man, His child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart;
   Pity, a human face;And Love,
the human form divine:
   And Peace the human dress.

Then every man, of every clime,
   That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine:
   Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
   In heathen, Turk, or Jew.
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell,
   There God is dwelling too.

Holy Thursday
’Twas on a holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two and two, in red, and blue, and green:
Grey-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Paul’s they like Thames waters flow.

O what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!
Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own.
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among:
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor.
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.

The sun descending in the West,
The evening star does shine;
The birds are silent in their nest,
And I must seek for mine.   
The moon, like a flower   
In heaven’s high bower,   
With silent delight,   
Sits and smiles on the night.

Farewell, green fields and happy groves,
Where flocks have took delight,
Where lambs have nibbled, silent moves
The feet of angels bright;   
Unseen, they pour blessing,   
And joy without ceasing,   
On each bud and blossom,   
And each sleeping bosom.

They look in every thoughtless nest
Where birds are coverd warm;
They visit caves of every beast,
To keep them all from harm:   
If they see any weeping   
That should have been sleeping,   
They pour sleep on their head,   
And sit down by their bed.

When wolves and tygers howl for prey,
They pitying stand and weep;
Seeking to drive their thirst away,
And keep them from the sheep.   
But, if they rush dreadful,   
The angels, most heedful,   
Receive each mild spirit,   
New worlds to inherit.

And there the lion’s ruddy eyes
Shall flow with tears of gold:
And pitying the tender cries,
And walking round the fold:   
Saying: ‘Wrath by His meekness,   
And, by His health, sickness,   
Is driven away   
From our immortal day.

‘And now beside thee, bleating lamb,
I can lie down and sleep,
Or think on Him who bore thy name,
Graze after thee, and weep.   
For, wash'd in life’s river,   
My bright mane for ever   
Shall shine like the gold,   
As I guard o’er the fold.’

Sound the flute!     
Now it’s mute!      
Birds delight,      
Day and night,      
In the dale,      
Lark in sky,—      
Merrily, merrily to welcome in the Year.

Little boy,      
Full of joy;      
Little girl,      
Sweet and small;      
Cock does crow,      
So do you;      
Merry voice,      
Infant noise;
Merrily, merrily to welcome in the Year.

Little lamb,     
Here I am;      
Come and lick      
My white neck;      
Let me pull      
Your soft wool;      
Let me kiss      
Your soft face;
Merrily, merrily we welcome in the Year.

Nurse's Song
When the voices of children are heard on the green,
And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast,  
And everything else is still.

Then come home my children, the sun is gone down,   
And the dews of night arise
Come, come, leave off play, and let us away
Till the morning appears in the skies
No no let us play, for it is yet day  
And we cannot go to sleep
Besides, in the sky the little birds fly
And the hills are all covered with sheep

Well, well, go & play till the light fades away   
And then go home to bed.
The little ones leaped, & shouted, & laughed,   
And all the hills ecchoed.

Infant Joy
I have no name
I am but two days old —
What shall I call thee?
I happy am,
Joy is my name —
Sweet joy befall thee!

Pretty joy!
Sweet joy, but two days old.
Sweet joy I call thee.
Thou dost smile
I sing the while
Sweet joy befall thee.

A Dream
Once a dream did weave a shade
O’er my angel-guarded bed,
That an Emmet lost its way
Where on grass methought I lay.

Troubled, wilderd, and forlorn
Dark, benighted, travel-worn
Over many a tangled spray,
All heart-broke, I heard her say.

O my children! do they cry
Do they hear their father sigh.
Now they look abroad to see,
Now return and weep for me.

Pitying, I drop’d a tear:
But I saw a glow-worm near:
Who replied, ‘What wailing wight
Calls the watchman of the night.

I am set to light the ground,
While the beetle goes his round:
Follow now the beetle’s hum,
Little wanderer, hie thee home.

 On Anothers Sorrow
Can I see anothers woe,
And not be in sorrow too.
Can I see another’s grief.
And not seek for kind relief.

Can I see a falling tear.
And not feel my sorrow’s share,
Can a father see his child,
Weep, nor be with sorrow fill’d.

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear —
No, no! never can it be.
Never, never can it be.

And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small.
Hear the small bird’s grief & care
Hear the woes that infants bear —

And not sit beside the nest
Pouring pity in their breast.
And not sit the cradle near
Weeping tear on infant’s tear.

And not sit both night & day,
Wiping all our tears away,
O no! never can it be,
Never, never can it be.

He doth give His joy to all,
He becomes an infant small.
He becomes a man of woe
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by.
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.

O He gives to us His joy,
That our grief He may destroy
Till our grief is fled & gone
He doth sit by us and moan.

Genevieve Perdue
Susannah Wood
Joan Grant
Jeffrey Trescott
Shelley Johnson
Heather Liston
Linsay Rousseau
Lee Vogt