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William Blake Poetry

 

W i l l i a m   B l a k e
(1757-1827)

NIGHT
 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.

 Farewell, green fields and happy grove,
 Where flocks have ta’en delight.
 Where lambs have nibbled, silent move
 The feet of angels bright;
   Unseen they pour blessing,
   And joy without ceasing,
   On each bud and blossom,
   And each sleeping bosom.

 They look in every thoughtless nest
 Where birds are covered warm;
 They visit caves of every beast,
 To keep them all from harm:
   If they see any weeping
   That should have been sleeping,
   They pour sleep on their head,
   And sit down by their bed.

 When wolves and tigers howl for prey,
 They pitying stand and weep;
 Seeking to drive their thirst away,
 And keep them from the sheep.
   But, if they rush dreadful,
   The angels, most heedful,
   Receive each mild spirit,
   New worlds to inherit.

 And there the lion’s ruddy eyes
 Shall flow with tears of gold:
 And pitying the tender cries,
 And walking round the fold:
   Saying: "Wrath by His meekness,
   And, by His health, sickness,
   Are driven away
   From our immortal day.

 "And now beside thee, bleating lamb,
 I can lie down and sleep,
 Or think on Him who bore thy name,
 Graze after thee, and weep.
   For, washed in life’s river,
   My bright mane for ever
   Shall shine like the gold,
   As I guard o’er the fold.
 

 LONDON
 I wandered through each chartered street,
   Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
 A mark in every face I meet,
   Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

 In every cry of every man,
   In every infant’s cry of fear,
 In every voice, in every ban,
   The mind-forged manacles I hear:

 How the chimney-sweeper’s cry
   Every blackening church appalls,
 And the hapless soldier’s sigh
   Runs in blood down palace-walls.

 But most, through midnight streets I hear
   How the youthful harlot’s curse
 Blasts the new-born infant’s tear,
   And blights with plagues the marriage-hearse.

 

A Dream
Once a dream did weave a shade
O’er my angel-guarded bed,
That an emmet lost its way
Where on grass methought I lay.

Troubled, wildered, and forlorn,
Dark, benighted, travel-worn,
Over many a tangle spray,
All heart-broke, I heard her say:

‘Oh my children! do they cry,
Do they hear their father sigh?
Now they look abroad to see,
Now return and weep for me.’

Pitying, I dropped a tear:
But I saw a glow-worm near,
Who replied, ‘What wailing wight
Calls the watchman of the night?

‘I am set to light the ground,
While the beetle goes his round:
Follow now the beetle’s hum;
Little wanderer, hie thee home!’
 

 

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