Introduction

The Chimney Sweeper by William Blake is the title of two poems the author penned; the first was in his collection The Songs of Innocence, while the one below is from his second compilation The Songs of Experience.

This site is an attempt to analyze the Chimney Sweeper from a literary standpoint, while also providing historical context and examples of artistic interpretation.

William Blake

William Blake

The Chimney Sweeper

from the Songs of Experience

By William Blake

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 smiled 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 made up a heaven of our misery.’

 

Source
Blake, William. “The Chimney Sweeper: A little black thing among the snow.” Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 1 May 2014. <http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172909#poem>.