The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Innocence) Summary
The speaker of this poem is a small boy who was sold into the chimney-sweeping business when his mother died. He recounts the story of a fellow chimney sweeper, Tom Dacre, who cried when his hair was shaved to prevent vermin and soot from infesting it. The speaker comforts Tom, who falls asleep and has a dream or vision of several chimney sweepers all locked in black coffins. An angel arrives with a special key that opens the locks on the coffins and sets the children free. The newly freed children run through a green field and wash themselves in a river, coming out clean and white in the bright sun. The angel tells Tom that if he is a good boy, he will have this paradise for his own. When Tom awakens, he and the speaker gather their tools and head out to work, somewhat comforted that their lives will one day improve. "Nurse's Song" (Song of Experience)
In this poem, Blake parodies his earlier “Nurse’s Song” from Songs of Innocence. The nurse hears the whispering of her charges in the dell, indicating some secretive activity among the youths. Upon hearing their voices, the nurse’s face “turns green and pale,” an image associated with the unfulfilled spinster in Blake’s day. That she reflects upon missed pleasures suggests that the secretive children are in fact adolescents becoming aware of their own sexuality, a theme in keeping with the overall tone of Songs of Experience.
Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, on Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour, July 13, 1798 Summary The poem opens with the poet visiting a place called Tintern Abbey on the banks of the River Wye in southeast Wales. He's visited it before, but not for five years. He remembers almost every detail: the sound of the "mountain-springs," "this dark sycamore," and the "hedge-rows."
He looks back on the past five years that have gone by since his first visit to the place, and remembers how much the memory of...
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