William Blake and Industrial Revolution

William Blake by Thomas Phillips.jpg

First, take a look at the poem that Senior 5 explained in the Meet. This poem appears in a book called Songs of Innocence and the voice is a little hopeful kid.

The Chimney Sweeper from Songs of Innocence

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 & in soot I sleep.

There’s little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head

That curled like a lamb’s back, was shaved, 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, & that very night,

As Tom was a-sleeping he had such a sight!

That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, & Jack,

Were all of them locked up in coffins of black;

And by came an Angel who had a bright key,

And he opened 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.

Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy & warm;

So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.

The following webpage gives a full explanation: https://www.shmoop.com/study-guides/poetry/chimney-sweeper-innocence/summary

Now, take a look at the other poem, under the same title, which appears in his book Songs of Experience

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 smil’d 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.”

Task: 1 Comparing and Contrasting the two poems by William Blake

This video will help you.

Prepare a poster or a mindmap to show:


-themes and tones

-metaphors, similes, symbols

-Why do they appear in different books?

Use vocaroo.com to record your opinion on how the poems are connected to industrial revolution

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