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William Blake : The Chimney-Sweeper

A little black thing among the snow1,
Crying ‘weep, weep’2 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.’

William Blake (1757-1827)	P. 1793

 
FOOTNOTES
1 the chimney sweeper is a child who has been sold into labour by his parents and the church, a common enough occurrence in Blake’s time ; 2 child’s pronounciation of ‘sweep’
 

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