William Blake's 1789 classic evokes an idyllic world, populated by pipers, shepherds, angels, and joyful children. Graced by Charles and Mary Robinson's ethereal Art Nouveau illustrations, this special edition comprises the complete Songs of Innocence, in addition to nine poems from Songs of Experience.
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About the Author
Painter, printer, and poet, William Blake (1757-1827) was a master at expressing great literature through his art. Perhaps the finest engraver in English history, Blake's illuminated books filled with sketches and watercolors that boggle the mind with their beauty and detail are as sought after today as they were over a hundred years ago.
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Songs of Innocence
By WILLIAM BLAKE, CHARLES ROBINSON, MARY H. ROBINSON
Dover Publications, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
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 ECHOING KEEN
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' cheerful sound,
While our sports shall be seen
On the echoing 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 and boys,
In our youth-time were seen
On the echoing 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.
LITTLE lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee,
Gave thee life and bid thee feed
By the stream and 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?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Little lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little lamb, I'll tell thee.
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb:
He is meek and he is mild,
He became a little child.
I a child and thou a lamb,
We are called 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 oh ! 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 beast, and men receive
Comfort in morning, joy in the noon-day.
"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 sun-burnt face
Are but a cloud, and like a shady grove.
"For when our souls have learnt the heat to bear,
The clouds will vanish, we shall hear his voice,
Saying, 'Come out from the grove, my love and
And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.'"
Thus did my mother say, and kissed me;
And thus 1 say to little English boy,—
"When I from black, and he from white cloud
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."
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 and in soot I sleep.
There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head,
That curl'd 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
Were all of them lock'd up in coffins of black.
And by came an angel who had a bright key,
And he open'd the coffins and set them all free;
Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing they
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
So if all do their duty they need not fear harm.
THE LITTLE BOY LOST
FATHER! father! where are you going ?
Oh, 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.
THE LITTLE BOY FOUND
THE little boy lost in the lonely fen,
Led by the wandering light,
Began to cry; but God, ever nigh,
Appear'd like his father in white;
He kiss'd the child, and by the hand led,
And to his mother brought,
Who, in sorrow pale, thro' the lonely dale,
Her little boy weeping sought.
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, dove-like sighs,
Chase not slumber from thy eyes.
Sweet moans, sweeter smiles,
All the dove-like 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.
'TWAS on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two and two, in red and blue and green,
Grey-headed beadles walk'd 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 seem'd, 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 cover'd 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 tigers 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.
Day and night;
In the dale,
Lark in sky,
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year
Full of joy;
Sweet and small;
Cock does crow,
So do you.
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year.
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.
WHEN the voices of children are heard on the
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
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 cover'd with sheep.
Well, well, go and play till the light fades away,
And then go home to bed.
The little ones leap'd and shouted and laugh'd
And all the hills echoed.
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!
Sweet joy but two days old.
Sweet joy I call thee.
Thou dost smile,
I sing the while,
Sweet joy befall thee!
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, wilder'd, and forlorn,
Dark, benighted, travel, 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 dropp'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."
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,
When our table with cherries and nuts is spread,
Come live and be happy and join with me
To sing the sweet chorus of Ha, ha, he!
I LOVE to rise in a summer morn
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the sky-lark sings with me.
O ! what sweet company.
But to go to school in a summer morn,
O ! it drives all joy away;
Under a cruel eye outworn,
The little ones spend the day
In sighing and dismay.
Ah ! then at times I drooping sit,
And spend many an anxious hour;
Nor in my book can I take delight
Nor sit in learning's bower,
Worn thro' with the dreary shower.
How can the bird, that is born for joy,
Sit in a cage and sing?
How can a child, when fears annoy,
But droop his tender wing,
And forget his youthful spring?
O father and mother, if buds are nipp'd,
And blossoms blown away,
And if the tender plants are stripp'd
Of their joy in the springing day,
By sorrow and care's dismay,
How shall the summer arise in joy,
Or the summer fruits appear ?
Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy,
Or bless the mellowing year,
When the blasts of winter appear ?
ON ANOTHER'S BORROW
CAN I see another's 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 and 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 and 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 and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.
THE VOICE OF THE ANCIENT BARD
YOUTH of delight, come hither,
And see the opening morn,
Image of truth new-born.
Doubt is fled and clouds of reason,
Dark disputes and artful teasing.
Folly is an endless maze,
Tangled roots perplex her ways,
How many have fallen there !
They stumble all night over bones of the dead,
And feel they know not what but care,
And wish to lead others when they should be led.
SOME POEMS FROM SONGS OF EXPERIENCE
MY PRETTY ROSE TREE
A FLOWER was offer'd to me,
Such a flower as May never bore;
But I said, I've a pretty rose-tree,
And I pass'd the sweet flower o'er.
Then I went to my pretty rose-tree,
To tend her by day and by night;
But my rose turn'd away with jealousy,
And her thorns were my only delight.
THE modest rose puts forth a thorn,
The humble sheep a threatening horn;
While the lily white shall in love delight, Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.
THE SICK ROSE
O ROSE, thou art sick:
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm,
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy ;
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
Thy summer's play
My thoughtless hand
Has brush'd away.
Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?
For I dance,
And drink, and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.
If thought is life
And strength and breath,
And the want
Of thought is death;
Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live
Or if I die.
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 thy 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?
I DREAMT a dream ! what can it mean?
And that I was a maiden queen,
Guarded by an angel mild:
Witless woe was ne'er beguiled.
And I wept both night and day,
And he wiped my tears away,
And I wept both day and night,
And hid from him my heart's delight.
So he took his wings and fled;
Then the morn blush'd rosy red;
I dried my tears and arm'd my fears
With ten thousand shields and spears.
Soon my angel came again:
I was arm'd, he came in vain;
For the time of youth was fled,
And grey hairs were on my head.
THE LITTLE GIRL LOST
I prophetic see
That the earth from sleep
(Grave the sentence deep)
Shall arise and seek
For her maker meek;
And the desert wild
Become a garden mild.
In the southern clime,
Where the summer's prime
Never fades away,
Lovely Lyca lay.
Seven summers old
Lovely Lyca told;
She had wander'd long
Hearing wild birds' song.
Sweet sleep, come to me
Underneath this tree.
Do father, mother weep?
Where can Lyca sleep?
Lost in the desert wild
Is your little child.
How can Lyca sleep
If her mother weep?
If her heart does ache,
Then let Lyca wake;
If my mother sleep,
Lyca shall not weep.
Frowning, frowning night,
O'er this desert bright,
Let thy moon arise
While I close my eyes.
Sleeping Lyca lay:
While the beasts of prey,
Come from caverns deep,
View'd the maid asleep.
The kingly lion stood,
And the virgin view'd,
Then he gamboll'd round
O'er the hallow'd ground.
Leopards, tigers play
Round her as she lay,
While the lion old
Bow'd his mane of gold,
And her bosom lick,
And upon her neck
From his eyes of flame
Ruby tears there came.
While the lioness
Loosed her slender dress,
And naked they convey'd
To caves the sleeping maid.
Excerpted from Songs of Innocence by WILLIAM BLAKE, CHARLES ROBINSON, MARY H. ROBINSON. Copyright © 2011 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
SONGS OF INNOCENCE,
THE ECHOING KEEN,
THE LITTLE BLACK BOY,
THE CHIMNEY SWEEPER,
THE LITTLE BOY LOST,
THE LITTLE BOY FOUND,
A CRADLE SONG,
THE DIVINE IMAGE,
ON ANOTHER'S BORROW,
THE VOICE OF THE ANCIENT BARD,
SOME POEMS FROM SONGS OF EXPERIENCE,
MY PRETTY ROSE TREE,
THE SICK ROSE,
THE LITTLE GIRL LOST,
THE LITTLE GIRL FOUND,
A LITTLE GIRL LOST,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I bought this because I wanted William Blake's book of poems with the original illustrations. This SAYS it has them, and it does. . . For the firs poem only. In fact, it only has one poem period. That and the table of contents make up six pages.