The Garden of Love with excerpt from Blake’s notebook for Songs and Ballads
I laid me down upon a bank
Where love lay sleeping
I heard among the rushes dank
Then I went to the heath & the wild,
To the thistles & thorns of the waste
And they told me how they were beguild
Driven out & 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 turn’d to the Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore.
And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be:
And Priests in black gowns, were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars, my joys & desires.
Hear the Voice of the Bard Introduction to Songs of Experience
Hear the voice of the Bard!
Who Present, Past, & Future sees
Whose ears have heard,
The Holy Word,
That walk'd among the ancient trees.
Calling the lapsed Soul
And weeping in the evening dew:
That might controll,
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 watry shore
Is giv’n thee till the break of day.
How Sweet I Roamed
How sweet I roam'd from field to field,
And tasted all the summer's pride,
'Till I the prince of love beheld
Who in the sunny beams did glide!
He shew'd me lilies for my hair,
And blushing roses for my brow;
He led me through his gardens fair,
Where all his golden pleasures grow.
With sweet May dews my wings were wet,
And Phoebus fir'd my vocal rage;
He caught me in his silken net,
And shut me in his golden cage.
He loves to sit and hear me sing,
Then, laughing, sports and plays with me;
Then stretches out my golden wing,
And mocks my loss of liberty.
On Anothers Sorrow
Can I see anothers woe,
And not be in sorrow too.
Can I see anothers 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 birds grief & 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 infants tear.
And not sit both night & day,
Wiping all our tears away.
O! 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.
O! He gives to us his joy,
That our grief he may destroy
Till our grief is fled & gone
He doth sit by us and moan
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 wilderd and forlorn,
Dark benighted, travel-worn,
Over many a tangled spray
All heart-broke I heard her say.
Oh 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 drop’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 beetles hum,
Little wanderer hie thee home!'
I Heard An Angel Singing
I heard an Angel singing
When the day was springing
Mercy Pity Peace
Is the worlds release
Thus he sung all day
Over the new mown hay
Till the sun went down
And haycocks looked brown
I heard a Devil curse
Over the heath & the furze
Mercy could be no more
If there was nobody poor
And pity no more could be
If all were happy as we
At his curse the sun went down
And the heavens gave a frown
Down pourd the heavy rain
Over the new reapd grain
And Miseries increase
Is Mercy Pity Peace
I Rose Up At The Dawn Of Day
I rose up at the dawn of day
Get thee away get thee away
Prayst thou for Riches away away
This is the Throne of Mammon grey
Said I this sure is very odd
I took it to be the Throne of God
For every Thing besides I have
It is only for Riches that I can crave
I have Mental Joy & Mental Health
And Mental Friends & Mental wealth
Ive a wife I love & that loves me
Ive all But Riches Bodily
I am in God's presence night & day
And he never turns his face away
The accuser of sins by my side does stand
And he holds my money bag in his hand
For my worldly things God makes him pay
And hed pay for more if to him I would pray
And so you may do the worst you can do
Be assurd M’ Devil I wont pray to you
Then If for Riches I must not Pray
God knows I little of Prayers need say
So as a Church is known by its Steeple
If I pray it must be for other People
He says if I do not worship him for a God
I shall eat coarser food & go worse shod
So as I dont value such things as these
You must do M’ Devil just as God please
A Poison Tree
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 waterd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears:
And I sunned 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 veild the pole;
In the morning glad I see;
My foe outstretched beneath the tree
The Ecchoing Green
The Sun does arise,
And make happy the skies.
The merry bells ring
To welcome the Spring.
The sky-lark and thrush,
The birds of the bush,
Sing louder around,
To the bells cheerful sound.
While our sports shall be seen
On the Ecchoing 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 & boys,
In our youth-time were seen,
On the Ecchoing 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.
Thy summers play,
My thoughtless hand
Has brush’d away.
Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?
For I dance
And drink & sing:
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.
If thought is life
And strength & breath:
And the want
Of thought is death;
Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.
Why Should I Care for the Men of Thames
Why should I care for the men of Thames
Or the cheating waves of charterd streams
Or shrink at the little blasts of fear
That the hireling blows into my ear
Tho born on the cheating banks of Thames
Tho his waters bathed my infant limbs
The Ohio shall wash his stains from me
I was born a slave but I go to be free
Sleep Sleep Beauty Bright known as ‘A Cradle Song’ in Songs and Ballads
Sleep Sleep beauty bright
Dreaming oer the joys of night
Sleep Sleep: in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit & weep
Sweet Babe in thy face
Soft desires I can trace
Secret joys & secret smiles
Little pretty infant wiles
As thy softest limbs I feel
Smiles as of the morning steal
O'er thy cheek, & oer thy breast
Where thy little heart does rest
O the cunning wiles that creep
In thy little heart asleep
When thy little heart does wake
Then the dreadful lightnings break
From thy cheek & from thy eye
Oer the youthful harvests nigh
Infant wiles & infant smiles
Heaven and Earth of peace beguiles