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Hans Hermans Natuurdagboek: William Blake’s Songs of Innocence & Experience

W i l l i a m   B l a k e

(1757-1827)

Seven poems from:  Songs of Innocence

& Songs of Experience


 

Introduction


Hear the voice of the Bard,

Who present, past, and future, sees;

Whose ears have heard

The Holy Word

That walked among the ancient trees;


Calling the lapsed soul,

And weeping in the evening dew;

That might control

The starry pole,

And fallen, fallen light renew!


‘O Earth, O Earth, return!

Arise from out the dewy grass!

Night is worn,

And the morn

Rises from the slumbrous mass.


‘Turn away no more;

Why wilt thou turn away?

The starry floor,

The watery shore,

Is given thee till the break of day.’
 

 

The Blossom


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.



Spring


Sound the flute!

Now it’s mute!

Birds delight,

Day and night,

Nightingale,

In the dale,

Lark in sky, –

Merrily,

Merrily, merrily to welcome in the year.


Little boy,

Full of joy;

Little girl,

Sweet and small;

Cock does crow,

So do you;

Merry voice,

Infant noise;

Merrily, merrily to welcome in the year.


Little lamb,

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.

 


Ah, Sunflower

 

Ah, sunflower, weary of time,

Who countest the steps of the sun;

Seeking after that sweet golden clime

Where the traveller’s journey is done;

 

Where the Youth pined away with desire,

And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,

Arise from their graves, and aspire

Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

 


The Lily

 

The modest Rose puts forth a thorn,

The humble sheep a threat’ning horn:

While the Lily white shall in love delight,

Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright. 

 

Laughing Song


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,

Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:

Come live, and be merry, and join with me,

To sing the sweet chorus of ‘Ha ha he!’ 


 

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.

 

Hans Hermans Natuurdagboek- May 2009

Poems: Williem Blake – Photos: Hans Hermans


© hans hermans

KEMP=MAG poetry magazine – magazine for art & literature

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