The Chimney Sweeper

By: William Blake

"The Chimney Sweeper," from Songs of Experience

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 make up a heaven of our misery."

—William Blake

The History Behind the Man

William Blake was born on November 28th, 1757 in Soho, England and is considered one of the greatest poets of the romantic age of literature. He was also a painter and print maker as well, which also expanded his ability to expand his thoughts. Even though his is well known now, in his time he was pretty well below the radar.

Not only was he an avid writer and artist, he also was strong minded in politics as well. This is because he supported both the French and American revolutions, which was very unpopular in the 18th century England. With all this aside, he was a greatly misunderstood in his time.

He continued his work until his death in 1827. To this day, his poems The Chimney Sweeper and The Tyger remain great romantic era works that have been enjoyed for years. The Chimney Sweeper is actually two different works, but relay the same messages.