The Chimney Sweeper – Innocence


When my mother died I was very young,

And my father sold me while yet my tongue

Could scarcely cry ‘weep!’weep!’ ‘weep!’

So your chimneys I sweep and in soot I sleep.


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

That curl’d like a lamb’s back, was shav’d: 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 and Jack,

Were all of them lock’d up in coffins of black.


And by came an Angel who had a bright key,

And he open’d the coffins and 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 and our brushes to work.

Tho’ the morning was cold, Tom was happy and warm;

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


William Blake