Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, by William Blake, Part I

William Blake

Every day on Daily Readers' Book Club we offer an article length section of a book until that book is done.  We are currently reading William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience.  This book will have 8 parts.

SONGS OF INNOCENCE
AND
SONGS OF EXPERIENCE

BY WILLIAM BLAKE

[Picture: The Astolaf Press, Guildford]

LONDON: R. BRIMLEY JOHNSON.
GUILDFORD: A. C. CURTIS.

MDCCCCI.

CONTENTS

SONGS OF INNOCENCE

Introduction
The Shepherd
The Echoing Green
The Lamb
The Little Black Boy
The Blossom
The Chimney-Sweeper
The Little Boy Lost
The Little Boy Pound
Laughing Song
A Cradle Song
The Divine Image
Holy Thursday
Night
Spring
Nurse’s Song
Infant Joy
A Dream
On Another’s Sorrow

SONGS OF EXPERIENCE

Introduction
Earth’s Answer
The Clod and the Pebble
Holy Thursday
The Little Girl Lost
The Little Girl Found
The Chimney-Sweeper
Nurse’s Song
The Sick Rose
The Fly
The Angel
The Tiger
My Pretty Rose-Tree
Ah, Sunflower
The Lily
The Garden of Love
The Little Vagabond
London
The Human Abstract
Infant Sorrow
A Poison Tree
A Little Boy Lost
A Little Girl Lost
A Divine Image
A Cradle Song
The Schoolboy
To Tirzah
The Voice of the Ancient Bard

SONGS OF INNOCENCE

INTRODUCTION

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 cheer.
‘Piper, pipe that song again.’
So I piped: he wept to hear.

‘Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;
Sing thy songs of happy cheer!’
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 plucked 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 fillèd 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 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’ 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.

THE LAMB

Little lamb, who made thee?
Does 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?
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, and He is mild,
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are callèd by His name.
Little lamb, God bless thee!
Little lamb, God bless thee!

Image courtesy of Books18.


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