by William Blake (1757 - 1827)

The chimney sweeper
Language: English 
When my mother died I was very young, 
And my father sold me while yet my tongue 
Could scarcely cry ``'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!'' 
So your chimneys I sweep, & in soot I sleep. 

There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head, 
That curl'd like a lamb's back, was shav'd: so I said 
``Hush, Tom! never mind it, for when you head's bare 
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.'' 

And so he was quiet, & that very night, 
As Tom was a-sleeping, he had such a sight! 
That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, & Jack, 
Were all of them lock'd up in coffins of black. 

And by came an Angel who had a bright key, 
And he open'd the coffins & set them free; 
Then down a green plain leaping, laughing, they run, 
And wash in a river, and shine in the Sun. 

Then naked & white, all their bags left behind, 
They rise upon clouds and sport in the wind; 
And the Angel told Tom, if he'd be a good boy, 
He'd have God for his father, & never want joy. 

And so Tom awoke; and we rose in the dark, 
And got with our bags & our brushes to work, 
Tho the morning was cold, Tom was happy & warm, 
So if all do their duty they need not fear harm.


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Researcher for this text: Ahmed E. Ismail

This text was added to the website: 2005-01-17
Line count: 24
Word count: 229