Songs of William Blake

Song Cycle by William James Mathias (1934 - 1992)

Word count: 1272

1. To Morning [sung text not yet checked]

O holy virgin! clad in purest white,
Unlock heaven's golden gates, and issue forth;
Awake the dawn that sleeps in heaven; let light
[Rise]1 from the chambers of the east, and bring
The honey'd dew that cometh on waking day.
O radiant morning, salute the sun
Roused like a huntsman to the chase, and with
Thy buskin'd feet appear [upon]2 our hills.
[O radiant morning appear on our hills]3

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1 Mitchell: "Arise"
2 Mitchell: "on"
3 added by Mitchell

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

1. Holy Thursday [sung text not yet checked]

['Twas]1 on a holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two and two, in red and blue and green:
Gray-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of St Paul's they like Thames waters flow.

O what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!
Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own.
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among;
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor:
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.

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1 Boughton: "It was"; further changes may exist not noted.

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. Infant Joy  [sung text not yet checked]

"I have no name:
I am but two days old."
What shall I call thee?
"I happy am,
Joy is my name."
Sweet joy befall thee!

Pretty Joy!
Sweet Joy, but two days old.
Sweet Joy I call thee:
Thou dost smile,
I sing the while,
Sweet joy befall thee!

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

  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Дитя-радость", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. Infant sorrow  [sung text not yet checked]

My mother groaned, my father wept,
Into the dangerous world I leapt;
Helpless, naked, piping loud,
Like a fiend hid in a cloud.

Struggling in my father's hands,
Striving against my swaddling bands,
Bound and weary, I thought best
To sulk upon my mother's breast.

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5. Holy Thursday [sung text not yet checked]

Is this a holy thing to see 
In a rich and fruitful land, 
Babes reduc'd to misery, 
Fed with cold and usurous hand? 

Is that trembling cry a song? 
Can it be song of joy? 
And so many children poor? 
It is a land of poverty! 

And their sun does never shine, 
And their fields are bleak & bare, 
And their ways are fill'd with thorns: 
It is eternal winter there. 

For where-e'er the sun does shine, 
And were-e'er the rain does fall, 
Babe can never hunger there, 
Nor poverty the mind appall.

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Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

6. The lamb  [sung text not yet checked]

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and [bid]1 thee feed,
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee:
He is callèd by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild:
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are callèd by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

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

  • CAT Catalan (Català) (Salvador Pila) , "L'anyell", copyright © 2014, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Thomas Schubert) , "Das Lamm", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • GER German (Deutsch) [singable] (Bertram Kottmann) , copyright © 2015, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • RUS Russian (Русский) [singable] (Dmitri Nikolaevich Smirnov) , "Агнец", copyright ©, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

View original text (without footnotes)
1 MacNutt, Somervell: "bade"

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

7. The Tiger [sung text not yet checked]

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?

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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

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

8. The chimney sweeper [sung text not yet checked]

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 hearth,
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 & dance & sing
They think they have done me no injury,
And are gone to praise God & his Priest & King
Who make up a heaven of our misery.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Le ramoneur de cheminée", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

9. London [sung text not yet checked]

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow
And 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-forg'd manacles I hear.

How the Chimney-sweeper's cry
Every black'ning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldier's sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls.

But most thro' midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlot's curse
Blasts the new-born Infant's tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.

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

  • FRE French (Français) (Guy Laffaille) , "Londres", copyright © 2009, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

10. On another's sorrow [sung text not yet checked]

Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no!  never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird's grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear --

And not sit beside the next,
Pouring pity in their breast,
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant's tear?

And not sit both night and day,
Wiping all our tears away?
Oh no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!

He doth give his joy to all:
He becomes an infant small,
He becomes a man of woe,
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not by:
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not year.

Oh He gives to us his joy,
That our grief He may destroy:
Till our grief is fled and gone
He doth sit by us and moan.

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Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

11. The divine image [sung text not yet checked]

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.

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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

Researcher for this text: Ted Perry

12. To the Evening Star [sung text not yet checked]

Thou fair-haired angel of the evening,
Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light
Thy bright torch of love; thy radiant crown
Put on, and smile upon our evening bed!
Smile on our loves, and while thou drawest the
Blue curtains of the sky, scatter thy silver dew
On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes
In timely sleep. Let thy west wing sleep on
The lake; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes,
And wash the dusk with silver. Soon, full soon,
Dost thou withdraw; then the wolf rages wide,
And the lion glares through the dun forest.
The fleeces of our flocks are covered with
Thy sacred dew; protect with them with thine influence.

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

  • CZE Czech (Čeština) (Jaroslav Vrchlický) , "Večernici"
  • GER German (Deutsch) (Bertram Kottmann) , "Dem Abendstern", copyright © 2013, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]