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 sang 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 vanished 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.
Three Songs of Innocence
Song Cycle by Christopher Roland Brown (b. 1943)
1. Piping down the valleys wild  [sung text not yet checked]
- by William Blake (1757 - 1827), "Introduction", appears in Songs of Innocence and Experience, in Songs of Innocence, no. 1, first published 1789 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):
- RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Вступление", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
2. The little boy lost  [sung text not yet checked]
"Nought loves another as itself, Nor venerates another so, Nor is it possible to Thought A greater than itself to know: "And, Father, how can I love you Or any of my brothers more? I love you like the little bird That picks up crumbs around the door." The Priest sat by and heard the child, In trembling zeal he seiz'd his hair: He led him by his little coat, And all admir'd the priestly care. And standing on the altar high, "Lo! what a fiend is here," said he, "One who sets reason up for judge Of our most holy Mystery." The weeping child could not be heard, The weeping parents wept in vain; They stripp'd him to his little shirt, And bound him in an iron chain; And burn'd him in a holy place, Where many had been burn'd before: The weeping parents wept in vain. Are such things done on Albion's shore?
- by William Blake (1757 - 1827), "A little boy lost", appears in Songs of Innocence and Experience, in Songs of Experience, no. 22, first published 1794 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
See other settings of this text.Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
3. Cradle song  [sung text not yet checked]
Sweet dreams, form a shade [O'er]1 my lovely infant's head! Sweet dreams of pleasant streams By happy, silent, moony beams! Sweet Sleep, with soft down Weave thy brows an infant crown. Sweet Sleep, angel mild, Hover o'er my happy child! Sweet smiles, in the night Hover over my delight! Sweet smiles, mother's [smile]2, All the livelong night [beguile]3. Sweet moans, dovelike sighs, Chase not slumber from thine eyes! Sweet moan, sweeter [smile]2, All the dovelike moans [beguile]3. Sleep, sleep, happy child! All creation slept and smiled. Sleep, sleep, happy sleep, While o'er thee [thy]4 mother weep. Sweet babe, in thy face Holy image I can trace; Sweet babe, once like thee Thy Maker lay, and wept for me: Wept for me, for thee, for all, When He was an infant small. Thou His image ever see, Heavenly face that smiles on thee! Smiles on thee, on me, on all, Who became an infant small; Infant smiles are His own smiles; Heaven and earth to peace beguiles.
- by William Blake (1757 - 1827), "A cradle song", appears in Songs of Innocence and Experience, in Songs of Innocence, no. 11, first published 1789 [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
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1 Carmichael: "Round"
2 Carmichael: "smiles"
3 Carmichael: "beguiles"
4 Baxter: "doth"
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]