Songs von William Blake


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 chear.
Piper, pipe that song again –
So I piped: he wept to hear.

Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe,
Sing thy songs of happy chear:
So I sung 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 pluck’d 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.

The Ecchoing Green

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‘ chearful 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 and 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.

The Little Black Boy

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 bereav’d of light.

My mother taught me underneath a tree
And sitting down before the heat of day,
She took me on her lap and kissed 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 noon day.

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
Is 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 & care,
And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.

Thus did my mother say and kissed 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 fathers knee:
And then I’ll stand and stroke his silver hair,
And be like him and he will then love me.

Laughing Song

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 & be merry, and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of ‚Ha, Ha, He!‘

A Cradle Song

Sweet dreams form a shade
O’er my lovely infants 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 smiles,
All the livelong night beguiles.

Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
Chase not slumber from thy eyes.
Sweet moans, sweeter smiles,
All the dovelike moans beguiles.

Sleep sleep happy child,
All creation slept and smil’d:
Sleep sleep, happy sleep,
While o’er thee thy 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 are his own smiles:
Heaven & earth to peace beguiles.


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 groves,
Where flocks have took delight:
Where lambs have nibbled, silent moves
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 cover’d 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 tygers 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 meckness
And by his health, sickness
Is driven away
From our immortal day.

And now beside thee bleating lamb
I can lie down and sleep:
Or think on him who bare 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.

On Another’s Sorrow

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 sorrows 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 & 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 & 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.

Earth’s Answer

Earth rais’d up her head,
From the darkness dread and drear.
Her light fled:
Stony dread!
And her locks cover’d with despair.

Prison’d on watry 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 plowman in the darkness plow?

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

The Fly

Little Fly,
Thy summer’s 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 and breath;
And the want
Of thought is death;

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

The Tyger

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?

The Little Vagabond

Dear Mother, dear Mother, the Church is cold,
But the Ale-house is healthy & pleasant & warm;
besides I can tell where I am used well;
Such usage in heaven will never do well.

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 live-long day,
Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray,

Then the Parson might preach & drink & 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 & give him both drink and apparel.

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 water’d 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 veil’d the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch’d beneath the tree.

How Sweet I Roam’d

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 golden net,
And shut me in his golden cage.

He loves to sit and hear me sing,
Then, laughing, sports and play with me;
Then stretches out my golden wing,
And mocks my loss of liberty.

Encouragement of Art

If you mean to Please Every body you will
Set to work both Ignorance & skill
For a great Madjority are Ignorant
And skill to them looks raving & rant
Like putting oil & water into a lamp
Twill make a great splutter with smoke & damp
For there is no use as it seems to me
Of lighting a Lamp when you don’t wish to see

If you mean to Please Every body you will
Menny wouver both Bunglishness & skill
For a great Conquest are Bunglery
And Jenous looks to ham like mad Rantery
Like displaying oil & water into a lamp
Twill hold forth a huge splutter with smoke & damp
For its all sheer loss as it seems to me
Of displaying up a light when we want not to see

And when it smells of the Lamp we can
Say all was owing to the Skilful Man
For the smell of water is but small
So een let Ignorance do it all


Renew the Arts

(When) Now Art has lost its mental Charms
France shall subdue the World in Arms
So spoke an Angel at my birth
Then said Descend thou upon Earth
Renew the Arts on Britains Shore
And France shall fall down & adore
With works of Art their Armies meet
And (Armies) War shall sink beneath thy feet
But if thy Nation Arts refuse
And if they scorn the immortal Muse
France shall the arts of Peace restore
And save (thy works) thee from (Britains) the Ungrateful shore

Spirit who lovst Brittannias (Shore) Isle
Round which the Fiends of Commerce (roar) smile