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Five Songs from William Blake

Word count: 740

Song Cycle by Virgil Garnett Thomson (1896 - 1989)

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1. The divine image [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER RUS

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Thomas Schubert) , "Das Ebenbild Gottes", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Божественное подобие", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


To Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love
 All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
 Return their thankfulness.

For Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love
 Is God, our Father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love
 Is man, His child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart,
 Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
 And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man, of every clime,
 That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
 Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
 In heathen, Turk, or Jew;
When Mercy, Love and Pity dwell
 There God is dwelling too.


Submitted by Ted Perry

2. Tiger! Tiger! [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

Translation(s): CAT FRE GER GER RUS

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "El tigre", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Le tigre", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Walter A. Aue) , "Der Tiger", copyright © 2006, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Thomas Schubert) , "Der Tiger", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Тигр", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


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 sieze 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?


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. The land of dreams [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]

Language: English

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Awake, awake my little boy, 
thou wast thy mother's only joy. 
Why dost thou weep in thy gentle sleep? 
Awake, thy father does thee keep. 
Oh, what land is the land of dreams? 
What are its mountains and what are its streams? 
O father, I saw my mother there, 
among the lilies by waters fair. 
Among the lambs clothed in white, 
she walked with her Thomas in sweet delight. 
I wept for joy; like a dove I mourn. 
Oh, when shall I again return? 
Dear child, I also by pleasand streams 
have wandered all night in the land of dreams; 
but though calm and warm the waters wide, 
I could not get to the other side? 
Father, O father, what do we here, 
in this land of unbelief and fear? 
The land of dreams is better far -- 
above the light of the morning star.


Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. The little black boy [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

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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 bereaved of light. 

My mother taught me underneath a tree, 
  And, sitting down before the heat of day, 
She took me on her lap and kissèd me, 
  And, pointing to the East, began to say: 

"Look [at]2 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 
  [Are]1 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 and care,
  And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.' " 

Thus did my mother say, and kissèd 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.


View original text (without footnotes)
1 Bolcom: "Is"
2 Bolcom, Cowell: "on"

Submitted by Ahmed E. Ismail

5. And did those feet [ sung text checked 1 time]

Language: English

Translation(s): GER SPA

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Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Und schritten jene Füße einst", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Aminta Iriarte) , "Jerusalén", copyright © 2003, (re)printed on this website with kind permission


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 those dark Satanic mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
Bring me my Arrows of Desire!
Bring me my Spear! Oh, 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!


Note: referred to by Miriam Waddington in The Snows of William Blake

Submitted by Aminta Iriarte

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