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The Chimney Sweeper by William Blake


"The Chimney Sweeper" is a poem written by William Blake. The poem is about Blake's parents leaving him home to sweep the chimney while they go to church to pray. They don't think they are doing anything wrong simply because he is joyful. However, he is actually miserable. In the first line, the "black thing among the snow" is simply the ashes from the chimney and the "clothes of death" in the second stanza are simply the clothes in pitch black from the ashes.

This poem is written as three stanzas with four lines in each. It is written in the rhyme scheme AABB. The poem has onomatopoeia with 'weep! weep!'. There's no particular meter scheme as the syllables and feet both change depending on the mood the author attempts to create.


The Chimney Sweeper

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."

Next: The Garden of Love
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Literary Movement
Romanticism, 18th Century

Sadness, Onomatopoeia

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