Download document

BLAKE, William

The Morning comes, the night decays

The morning comes, the night decays, the watchmen leave their stations;

The grave is burst, the spices shed, the linen wrapped up;

The bones of death, cov'ring clay, the sinews shrunk and dried

Reviving shake, inspiring move, breathing, awakening,

Spring like redeemed captives when their bonds and bars are burst.

Let the slave grinding at the mill run out into the field,

Let him look up into the heavens and laugh in the bright air;

Let the enchained soul, shut up in darkness and in sighing,

Whose face has never seen a smile in thirty weary years,

Rise and look out; his chains are loose, his dungeon doors are open;

And let his wife and children return from the oppressor's scourge;

They look behind at every step and believe it is a dream,

Singing: "The Sun has left his blackness and has found a fresher morning,

And the fair Moon rejoices in the clear & cloudless night;

For Empire is no more, and now the Lion and Wolf shall cease." '

In thunders ends the voice. Then Albion's Angel wrathful burnt

Beside the Stone of Night, and like the Eternal Lion's howl

In famine and war, replied: "Art thou not Orc, who serpent-formed

Stands at the gate of Enitharmon to devour her children?

Blasphemous Demon, Antichrist, hater of Dignities,

Lover of wild rebellion, and transgressor of God's Law,

Why dost thou come to Angel's eyes in this terrific form?'

The Terror answered: "I am Orc, wreathed round the accursed tree:

The times are ended; shadows pass, the morning 'gins to break;

The fiery joy, that Urizen perverted to ten commands,

What night he led the starry hosts thro' the wide wilderness,

That stony law I stamp to dust; and scatter religion abroad

To the four winds as a torn book, and none shall gather the leaves;

But they shall rot on desert sands, and consume in bottomless deeps,

To make the deserts blossom, and the deeps shrink to their fountains,

And to renew the fiery joy, and burst the stony roof;

That pale religious lechery, seeking Virginity,

May find it in a harlot, and in coarse-clad honesty

The undefiled, tho' ravished in her cradle night and morn;

For everything that lives is holy, life delights in life;

Because the soul of sweet delight can never be defiled.

Fires enwrap the earthly globe, yet man is not consumed;

Amidst the lustful fires he walks; his feet become like brass,

His knees and thighs like silver, and his breast and head like gold.'

Introduction to the 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 vanish'd from my sight.

And I pluck'd a hollow reed.

And I made a rural pen,

And I stain'd the water clear,

And I wrote my happy songs

Every child may joy to hear

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.

Night ( First Stanza)

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.

The Tyger

Tyger Tyger, 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, & what art,

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand? & 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?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,

In the forests of the night:

What immortal hand or eye,

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?


And did those feet in ancient time

walk upon England’s mountains green?

And was the holy Lamb of God

on England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the countenance divine

shine forth upon our clouded hills?

And was Jerusalem builded here

among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!

Bring me my arrows of desire!

Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!

Bring me my chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,

nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,

till we have built Jerusalem

In England’s green and pleasant Land.

Cradle Song

Sleep, sleep, beauty bright,
Dreaming in the joys of night;
Sleep, sleep; in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.

Sweet babe, in thy face
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.

As thy softest limbs I feel
Smiles as of the morning steal
O'er thy cheek, and o'er thy breast
Where thy little heart doth rest.

O the cunning wiles that creep
In thy little heart asleep!
When thy little heart doth wake,
Then the dreadful night shall break.

How sweet I roam’d from field to field

How sweet I roam'd from field to field,
And tasted all the summer's pride,
'Till I the prince of love beheld,
Who in the sunny beams did glide!

He shew'd me lilies for my hair,
And blushing roses for my brow;
He led me through his gardens fair,
Where all his golden pleasures grow.

With sweet May dews my wings were wet,
And Phoebus* fir'd my vocal rage;
He caught me in his silken net,
And shut me in his golden cage.

He loves to sit and hear me sing,
Then, laughing, sports and plays with me;
Then stretches out my golden wing,
And mocks my loss of liberty.

* Phoebus = Apollo


TO find the Western path,

Right through the Gates of Wrath

I urge my way;

Sweet Mercy leads me on

With soft repentant moan:

I see the break of day.

The war of swords and spears,

Melted by dewy tears,

Exhales on high;

The Sun is freed from fears,

And with soft grateful tears

Ascends the sky.

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.


I wander thro’ each charter’d street,
Near where the charter’d Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear

How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every black’ning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls

But most thro’ midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse

The Garden of Love

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And "Thou shalt not'' writ over the door;
So I turn'd to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore;

And I saw it was filled with graves
And tomb-stones, where flowers should be;
And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.

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 and play till the light fades away

And then go home to bed

The little ones leaped & shouted & laugh'd

And all the hills echoed.

Auguries of Innocence

To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour
A Robin Red breast in a Cage

Puts all Heaven in a Rage

A Dove house filld with Doves & Pigeons

Shudders Hell thr' all its regions

A dog starvd at his Masters Gate

Predicts the ruin of the State

A Horse misusd upon the Road

Calls to Heaven for Human blood

Each outcry of the hunted Hare

A fibre from the Brain does tear

He who shall train the Horse to War

Shall never pass the Polar Bar

The Beggars Dog & Widows Cat

Feed them & thou wilt grow fat

The Gnat that sings his Summers Song

Poison gets from Slanders tongue

The poison of the Snake & Newt

Is the sweat of Envys Foot

A Truth thats told with bad intent

Beats all the Lies you can invent

It is right it should be so

Man was made for Joy & Woe

And when this we rightly know

Thro the World we safely go

Every Night & every Morn

Some to Misery are Born

Every Morn and every Night

Some are Born to sweet delight

Some are Born to sweet delight

Some are Born to Endless Night
We are led to Believe a Lie

When we see not Thro the Eye

Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night

When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light

God Appears & God is Light

To those poor Souls who dwell in Night

But does a Human Form Display

To those who Dwell in Realms of day