The Chimney Sweeper (Blake, 1789)
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 curl'd like a lamb’s back, was shav'd: 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 open'd the coffins & 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 & 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.