The Chimney Sweeper: A little black thing among the snow

By William Blake 1757–1827 William Blake
A little black thing among the snow,
Crying "weep! 'weep!" 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 smil'd 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."

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Poet William Blake 1757–1827

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Religion, Living, Social Commentaries, Youth, Faith & Doubt, Class, Christianity, God & the Divine

Poetic Terms Dramatic Monologue, Couplet, Imagery

 William  Blake

Biography

In his Life of William Blake (1863) Alexander Gilchrist warned his readers that Blake "neither wrote nor drew for the many, hardly for work'y-day men at all, rather for children and angels; himself 'a divine child,' whose playthings were sun, moon, and stars, the heavens and the earth." Yet Blake himself believed that his writings were of national importance and that they could be understood by a majority of men. Far from being . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, Living, Social Commentaries, Youth, Faith & Doubt, Class, Christianity, God & the Divine

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Dramatic Monologue, Couplet, Imagery

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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