Life of William Blake (1880), Volume 2/Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience

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Life of William Blake (1880), Volume 2
Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience
other versions: Songs of Innocence and Experience


SONGS OF INNOCENCE

AND

SONGS OF EXPERIENCE.


[Engraved 1789.]


Here again but little need be added to what has already been said in the Life respecting the Songs of Innocence and Experience. The first series is incomparably the more beautiful of the two, being indeed almost flawless in essential respects; while in the second series, the five years intervening between the two had proved sufficient for obscurity and the darker mental phases of Blake's writings to set in and greatly mar its poetic value. This contrast is more especially evident in those pieces whose subjects tally in one and the other series. For instance, there can be no comparison between the first Chimney Sweeper, which touches with such perfect simplicity the true pathetic chord of its subject, and the second, tinged somewhat with the commonplaces, if also with the truths, of social discontent. However, very perfect and noble examples of Blake's metaphysical poetry occur among the Songs of Experience, such as Christian Forbearance, and The Human Abstract. One piece, the second Cradle Song, I have myself introduced from the MS. note-book often referred to, since there can be no doubt that it was written to match with the first, and it has quite sufficient beauty to give it a right to its natural place. A few alterations and additions in other poems have been made from the same source.

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 cheer.
'Piper, pipe that song again;'
 So I piped: he wept to hear.


'Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;
 Sing thy songs of happy cheer!'
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 vanish'd from my sight.
 And I plucked 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.

How sweet is the shepherd's sweet lot!
From the morn to the evening he strays;
He shall follow his sheep all the day.
And his tongue shall be filled with praise.


For he hears the lambs' innocent call,
And he hears the ewes' tender reply;
He is watchful while they are in peace,
For they know that their shepherd is nigh.

The sun does arise
And make happy the skies;
The merry bells ring
To welcome the spring;
The skylark and thrush,
The birds of the bush,
Sing louder around
To the bells' cheerful sound;
While our sports shall be seen
On the echoing green.


Old John with white hair,
Does laugh away care,
Sitting under the oak,
Among the old folk.
They laugh at our play,
And soon they all say,
'Such, such were the joys
When we all—girls and boys—
In our youth-time were seen
On the echoing green.'


Till the little ones, weary,
No more can be merry,
The sun does descend,
And our sports have an end.
Round the laps of their mothers
Many sisters and brothers,
Like birds in their nest,
Are ready for rest,
And sport no more seen
On the darkening green.

 Little lamb, who made thee?
 Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bade 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 called 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 called by His name.
 Little lamb, God bless thee!
 Little lamb, God bless thee!

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 on 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 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.

Merry, merry sparrow!
Under leaves so green
 A happy blossom
Sees you, swift as arrow,
Seek your cradle narrow,
 Near my bosom.


Pretty, pretty robin!
Under leaves so green
 A happy blossom
Hears you sobbing, sobbing,
Pretty, pretty robin,
 Near my bosom.

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, and in soot I sleep.


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


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


And by came an angel, who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins, and set them all free;
Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing, they run,
And wash in a river, and shine in the sun.


Then naked and 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, and never want joy.


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

Father, father, where are you going?
 O do not walk so fast;
Speak, father, speak to your little boy,
 Or else I shall be lost.


The night was dark, no father was there,
 The child was wet with dew;
The mire was deep, and the child did weep,
 And away the vapour flew.


The little boy lost in the lonely fen.
 Led by the wandering light,
Began to cry, but God, ever nigh,
 Appeared like his father, in white.


He kissed the child, and by the hand led,
 And to his mother brought,
Who in sorrow pale through the lonely dale
 The little boy weeping sought.

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;


When the meadows laugh with lively green,
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene;
When Mary, and Susan, and Emily,
With their sweet round mouths, sing 'Ha, ha, he!'


When the painted birds laugh in the shade,
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread:
Come live, and be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of 'Ha, ha, he!'

Sweet dreams, form a shade
O'er 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,
All the livelong night beguile!


Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
Chase not slumber from thine eyes!
Sweet moan, sweeter smile
All the dovelike moans beguile!


Sleep, sleep, happy child!
All creation slept and smiled.
Sleep, sleep, happy sleep!
While o'er thee doth 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 like His own smile
Heaven and earth to peace beguile.

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;
Where mercy, love, and pity dwell,
 There God is dwelling too.

'Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
Came children walking two and two, in red, and blue, and green:
Grey-headed beadles walk'd before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Paul's, they like Thames' waters flow.


O what a multitude they seem'd, these flowers of London town,
Seated in companies they were, 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.

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 wash'd in life's river.
 My bright mane for ever
 Shall shine like the gold,
 As I guard o'er the fold.'


 Sound the flute!
 Now 'tis mute;
 Birds delight,
 Day and night,
 Nightingale
 In the dale,
 Lark in sky,—
 Merrily,
Merrily, merrily to welcome in the year.


 Little boy,
 Full of joy;
 Little girl,
 Sweet and small;
 Cock does crow,
 So do you;
 Merry voice,
 Infant noise;
Merrily, merrily to welcome in the year.


 Little lamb,
 Here I am;
 Come and lick
 My white neck;
 Let me pull
 Your soft wool;
 Let me kiss
 Your soft face;
Merrily, merrily we welcome in the year.

When the voices of children are heard on the green,
 And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast,
 And everything else is still.
Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down,
 And the dews of night arise;
Come, come, leave off play, and let us away
 Till the morning appears in the skies.


No, no, let us play, for it is yet day.
 And we cannot go to sleep;
Besides, in the sky the little birds fly,
 And the hills are all covered with sheep.
Well, well, go and play till the light fades away,
 And then go home to bed.
The little ones leap'd, and shouted, and laugh'd,
 And all the hills echoèd.

'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!

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, 'wilder'd, and forlorn,
Dark, benighted, travel-worn,
Over many a tangled spray,
All heart-broke, I heard her say:


'O, 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 dropp'd 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!'

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 sorrows share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow fill'd?


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 nest,
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 near.


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

Youth of delight! come hither
And see the opening morn,
Image of Truth new-born.
Doubt is fled, and clouds of reason,
Dark disputes and artful teasing.
Folly is an endless maze;
Tangled roots perplex her ways;
How many have fallen there!
They stumble all night over bones of the dead;
And feel—they know not what save care;
And wish to lead others, when they should be led.

SONGS OF EXPERIENCE.


[ENGRAVED 1794.]


INTRODUCTION.

Hear the voice of the bard,
Who Present, Past, and Future sees;
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word
That walked among the ancient trees,


Calling the lapsed soul,
And weeping in the evening dew;
That might control
The starry pole,
And fallen, fallen light renew!


O Earth, O Earth, return!
Arise from out the dewy grass!
Night is worn,
And the morn
Rises from the slumberous mass.


Turn away no more;
Why wilt thou turn away?
The starry floor,
The watery shore,
Is given thee till the break of day.

Earth raised up her head
From the darkness dread and drear,
Her Light fled,
(Stony dread!)
And her locks covered with grey despair.


'Prisoned on watery shore.
Starry jealousy does keep my den
Cold and hoar;
Weeping o'er,
I hear the father of the ancient men.


Selfish father of men!
Cruel, jealous, selfish fear!
Can delight,
Chain'd in night,
The virgins of youth and morning bear?


Does spring hide its joy,
When buds and blossoms grow?
Does the sower
Sow by night?
Or the ploughman in darkness plough?


Break this heavy chain,
That does freeze my bones around!
Selfish, vain,
Eternal bane.
That free love with bondage bound.'

Love seeketh not itself to please,
 Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease.
 And builds a heaven in hell's despair.


So sang a little clod of clay,
 Trodden with the cattle's feet;
But a pebble of the brook
 Warbled out these metres meet:


'Love seeketh only Self to please,
 To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another's loss of ease.
 And builds a hell in heaven's despite.'

Is this a holy thing to see,
 In a rich and fruitful land,
Babes reduced to misery,
 Fed with a cold usurious hand?


Is that trembling cry a song?
 Can it be a 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 and bare.
And their ways are fill'd with thorns:
 It is eternal winter there.


For where'er the sun does shine,
 And where'er the rain does fall,
Babes should never hunger there,
 Nor poverty the mind appal.

In futurity,
I prophetic see,
That the earth from sleep
(Grave the sentence deep)


Shall arise, and seek
For her Maker meek;
And the desert wild
Become a garden mild.


In the southern clime,
Where the summer's prime
Never fades away,
Lovely Lyca lay.


Seven summers old
Lovely Lyca told.
She had wandered long,
Hearing wild birds' song.


'Sweet sleep, come to me
Underneath this tree;
Do father, mother weep?
Where can Lyca sleep?


'Lost in desert wild
Is your little child.
How can Lyca sleep
If her mother weep?


'If her heart does ache,
Then let Lyca wake;
If my mother sleep,
Lyca shall not weep.


'Frowning, frowning night,
O'er this desert bright
Let thy moon arise.
While I close my eyes.'


Sleeping Lyca lay
While the beasts of prey,
Come from caverns deep,
View'd the maid asleep.


The kingly lion stood
And the virgin view'd.
Then he gambol'd round
O'er the hallow'd ground;


Leopards, tigers, play
Round her as she lay,
While the lion old
Bow'd his mane of gold.


And her breast did lick
And upon her neck,
From his eyes of flame,
Ruby tears there came;


While the lioness
Loos'd her slender dress,
And naked they conveyed
To caves the sleeping maid.

All the night in woe
Lyca's parents go
Over valleys deep,
While the deserts weep.


Tired and woe-begone,
Hoarse with making moan,
Arm in arm, seven days
They tread the desert ways.


Seven nights they sleep
Among shadows deep,
And dream they see their child
Starved in desert wild.


Pale thro' pathless ways
The fancied image strays
Famish'd, weeping, weak,
With hollow piteous shriek.


Rising from unrest,
The trembling woman prest
With feet of weary woe;
She could no further go.


In his arms he bore
Her, armed with sorrows sore;
Till before their way
A couching lion lay.

Turning back was vain,
Soon his heavy mane
Bore them to the ground;
Then he stalk'd around,


Smelling to his prey,
But their fears allay
When he licks their hands
And silent by them stands.


They look upon his eyes
Filled with deep surprise;
And wondering behold
A spirit arm'd in gold.


On his head a crown,
On his shoulders down
Flow'd his golden hair.
Gone was all their care.


'Follow me,' he said,
'Weep not for the maid;
'In my palace deep,
'Lyca lies asleep.'


Then they followèd
Where the vision led,
And saw their sleeping child
Among tigers wild.


To this day they dwell
In a lonely dell,
Nor fear the wolvish howl
Nor the lion's growl.

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 heath,
'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 and dance and sing,
'They think they have done me no injury,
'And are gone to praise God and His Priest and King,
Who make up a heaven of our misery'

When the voices of children are heard on the green,
 And whisperings are in the dale,
The days of my youth rise fresh in my mind,
 My face turns green and pale.


Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down,
 And the dews of night arise;
Your spring and your day are wasted in play,
 And your winter and night in disguise.


O Rose, thou art sick!
 The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
 In the howling storm,


Has found out thy bed
 Of crimson joy,
And his dark secret love
 Does thy life destroy.

Little Fly,
Thy summer's play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.


Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?


For I dance,
And drink, and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.


If thought is life,
And strength, and breath;
And the want
Of thought is death;


Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.

I dreamt a dream! What can it mean?
And that I was a maiden Queen
Guarded by an Angel mild:
Witless woe was ne'er beguil'd!


And I wept both night and day,
And he wip'd my tears away;
And I wept both day and night,
And hid from him my heart's delight.


So he took his wings, and fled;
Then the morn blush'd rosy red.
I dried my tears, and arm'd my fears
With ten thousand shields and spears.


Soon my Angel came again,
I was arm'd, he came in vain;
For the time of youth was fled,
And grey hairs were on my head.

Tiger, Tiger, burning bright
In the forest of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Framed thy fearful symmetry?


In what distant deeps or skies
Burned that fire within thine eyes?
On what wings dared he aspire?
What the hand dared seize the fire?


And what shoulder, and what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
When thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand formed thy dread feet?


What the hammer, what the chain,
Knit thy strength and forged thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dared thy 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?

A flower was offer'd to me,
 Such a flower as May never bore,
But I said, I've a pretty rose tree,
 And I passed the sweet flower o'er.


Then I went to my pretty rose tree,
 To tend her by day and by night,
But my rose turned away with jealousy
 And her thorns were my only delight.


Ah! Sunflower! weary of time,
 Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden prime
 Where the traveller's journey is done;


Where the Youth pined away with desire,
 And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
 Where my sunflower wishes to go.

The modest Rose puts forth a thorn,
The humble sheep a threat'ning horn:
While the Lily white shall in Love delight,
Nor a thorn, nor a threat, stain her beauty bright.


I laid me down upon a bank,
 Where Love lay sleeping;
I heard among the rushes dank
 Weeping, weeping.


Then I went to the heath and the wild,
 To the thistles and thorns of the waste;
And they told me how they were beguil'd,
 Driven out, and compelled to be chaste.


I went to the Garden of Love,
 And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
 Where I used to play on the green.


And the gates of this Chapel were shut.
 And 'thou shalt not,' writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
 That so many sweet flowers bore.


And I saw it was filled with graves,
 And tombstones where flowers should be,
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
 And binding with briars my joys and desires.

Dear mother, dear mother, the Church is cold,
But the Alehouse is healthy, and pleasant, and warm;
Besides, I can tell where I am used well;
The poor parsons with wind like a blown bladder swell.


But if at the Church they would give us some Ale,
And a pleasant fire our souls to regale,
We'd sing and we'd pray all the livelong day,
Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray.


Then the Parson might preach, and drink, and sing,
And we'd be as happy as birds in the spring,
And modest Dame Lurch, who is always at Church,
Would not have bandy children, nor fasting, nor birch.


And God, like a father, rejoicing to see
His children as pleasant and happy as He,
Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the Barrel,
But kiss him, and give him both drink and apparel.

I wander through 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 blackening church appals,
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.

Pity would be no more
If we did not make somebody poor,
And Mercy no more could be
If all were as happy as we.


And mutual fear brings Peace,
Till the selfish loves increase;
Then Cruelty knits a snare,
And spreads his baits with care.


He sits down with holy fears,
And waters the ground with tears;
Then Humility takes its root
Underneath his foot.


Soon spreads the dismal shade
Of Mystery over his head,
And the caterpillar and fly
Feed on the Mystery.


And it bears the fruit of Deceit,
Ruddy and sweet to eat,
And the raven his nest has made
In its thickest shade.


The gods of the earth and sea
Sought through nature to find this tree,
But their search was all in vain:
There grows one in the human Brain.

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 swaddhng bands,
Bound, and weary, I thought best
To sulk upon my mother's breast.


I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.


And I watered it in fears
Night and morning with my tears,
And I sunnèd it with smiles
And with soft deceitful wiles.


And it grew both day and night
Till it bore an apple bright,
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,


And into my garden stole
When the night had veil'd the pole;
In the morning, glad, I see
My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree.

'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 admired 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 burned him in a holy place
 Where many had been burned before;
The weeping parents wept in vain.
 Are such things done on Albion's shore?

Children of the future Age,
Reading this indignant page,
Know that, in a former time,
Love, sweet love, was thought a crime.


In the age of gold,
Free from winter's cold,
Youth and maiden bright,
To the holy light.
Naked in the sunny beams delight.


Once a youthful pair,
Fill'd with softest care,
Met in garden bright,
Where the holy light
Had just removed the curtains of the night.


Then, in rising day,
On the grass they play;
Parents were afar,
Strangers came not near,
And the maiden soon forgot her fear.


Tired with kisses sweet,
They agree to meet
When the silent sleep,
Waves o'er heaven's deep
And the weary tired wanderers weep.

To her father white
Came the maiden bright,
But his loving look,
Like the holy book,
All her tender limbs with terror shook.


Ona! pale and weak,
To thy father speak?
Oh! the trembling fear.
Oh! the dismal care
That shakes the blossoms of my hoary hair!

Sleep, sleep, beauty bright,
Dreaming in the joys of night;
Sleep, sleep; in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.


Sweet babe, in thy face
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.


As thy softest limbs I feel,
Smiles as of the morning steal
O'er thy cheek, and o'er thy breast
Where thy little heart doth rest.


Oh the cunning wiles that creep
In thy little heart asleep!
When thy little heart doth wake,
Then the dreadful light shall break.

I love to rise on a summer morn,
 When birds are singing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
 And the skylark sings with me:
 O what sweet company!


But to go to school in a summer morn,—
 Oh! it drives all joy away;
Under a cruel eye outworn,
 The little ones spend the day
 In sighing and dismay.


Ah! then at times I drooping sit
 And spend many an anxious hour;
Nor in my book can I take delight,
 Nor sit in learning's bower,
 Worn through with the dreary shower.


How can the bird that is born for joy
 Sit in a cage and sing?
How can a child, when fears annoy,
 But droop his tender wing,
 And forget his youthful spring?


O father and mother, if buds are nipp'd,
 And blossoms blown away;
And if the tender plants are stripp'd
 Of their joy in the springing day,
 By sorrow and care's dismay,—

How shall the summer arise in joy,
 Or the summer fruits appear?
Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy,
 Or bless the mellowing year,
 When the blasts of winter appear?

Whate'er is born of Mortal Birth,
Must be consumèd with the earth,
To rise from generation free:
Then what have I to do with thee?


The sexes sprang from shame and pride,
Blown in the morn, in evening died;
But mercy changed death into sleep;
The sexes rose to work and weep.


Thou, mother of my mortal part,
With cruelty didst mould my heart,
And with false self-deceiving tears
Didst bind my nostrils, eyes, and ears,


Didst close my tongue in senseless clay,
And me to mortal life betray.
The death of Jesus set me free:
Then what have I to do with thee?

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