Blake’s Lost Children: the victims of an uncaring adult world

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The Little Girl Lost

In futurity
I prophetic see,
That the earth from sleep,
(Grave the sentence deep)

Shall arise and seek
For her maker meek:
And the desart wild
Become a garden mild.

In the southern clime,
Where the summers prime,
Never fades away;
Lovely Lyca lay.

Seven summers old
Lovely Lyca told,
She had wanderd long
Hearing wild birds song.

Sweet sleep come to me
Underneath this tree;
Do father, mother weep, —
“Where can Lyca sleep”.

Lost in desart wild
Is your little child.
How can Lyca sleep,
If her mother weep.

If her heart does ake,
Then let Lyca wake;
If my mother sleep,
Lyca shall not weep.

Frowning frowning night,
O’er this desart bright,
Let thy moon arise,
While I close my eyes.

Sleeping Lyca lay;
While the beasts of prey,
Come from caverns deep,
View’d the maid asleep

The kingly lion stood
And the virgin view’d,
Then he gambold round
O’er the hallowd ground:

Leopards, tygers play,
Round her as she lay;
While the lion old,
Bow’d his mane of gold,

And her bosom lick,
And upon her neck,
From his eyes of flame,
Ruby tears there came;

While the lioness
Loos’d her slender dress,
And naked they convey’d
To caves the sleeping maid.

The Little Girl Found

All the night in woe,
Lyca’s parents go:
Over vallies deep,
While the desarts weep.

Tired and woe-begone,
Hoarse with making moan:
Arm in arm seven days,
They trac’d the desart ways.

Seven nights they sleep,
Among shadows deep:
And dream they see their child
Starv’d in desart wild.

Pale thro’ pathless ways
The fancied image strays,
Famish’d, weeping, weak
With hollow piteous shriek

Rising from unrest,
The trembling woman prest,
With feet of weary woe;
She could no further go.

In his arms he bore,
Her arm’d with sorrow sore:
Till before their way,
A couching lion lay.

Turning back was vain,
Soon his heavy mane,
Bore them to the ground;
Then he stalk’d around.

Smelling to his prey,
But their fears allay,
When he licks their hands:
And silent by them stands.

They look upon his eyes
Fill’d with deep surprise:
And wondering behold,
A spirit arm’d in gold.

On his head a crown
On his shoulders down,
Flow’d his golden hair.
Gone was all their care.

Follow me he said,
Weep not for the maid:
In my palace deep
Lyca lies asleep.

Then they followed,
Where the vision led:
And saw their sleeping child,
Among tygers wild.

To this day they dwell
In a lonely dell
Nor fear the wolvish howl,
Nor the lions growl.

A Little Girl Lost

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Children of the future Age, Reading this indignant page;
Know that in a former time,
Love! sweet Love! was thought a crime.

In the Age of Gold,
Free from winters cold:
Youth and maiden bright,
To the holy light,
Naked in the sunny beams delight.

Once a youthful pair
Fill’d with softest care:
Met in garden bright,
Where the holy light,
Had just removd the curtains of the night.

There in rising day,
On the grass they play:
Parents were afar:
Strangers came not near:
And the maiden soon forgot her fear.

Tired with kisses sweet
They agree to meet,
When the silent sleep
Waves o’er heavens deep;
And the weary tired wanderers weep.

To her father white
Came the maiden bright:
But his loving look,
Like the holy book,
All her tender limbs with terror shook.

Ona! pale and weak!
To thy father speak:
O the trembling fear!
O the dismal care!
That shakes the blossoms of my hoary hair

A Little Boy Lost

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Nought loves another as itself
Nor venerates another so,
Nor is it possible to Thought
A greater than itself to know:

And Father, how can I love you,
Or any of my brothers more?
I love you like the little bird
That picks up crumbs around the door.

The Priest sat by and heard the child,
In trembling zeal he siez’d his hair:
He led him by his little coat:
And all admir’d the Priestly care.

And standing on the altar high,
Lo what a fiend is here! said he:
One who sets reason up for judge
Of our most holy Mystery.

The weeping child could not be heard,
The weeping parents wept in vain:
They strip’d him to his little shirt,
And bound him in an iron chain.

And burn’d him in a holy place,
Where many had been burn’d before:
The weeping parents wept in vain.
Are such things done on Albions shore

You can compare different versions of the poems here: A Little Boy Lost, The Little Girl Lost, The Little Girl Found, The Little Girl Found part 2, A Little Girl Lost

Questions to answer on the poems — read ALL of the poem and answer as best you can… 

What effects are created when the poems are read aloud or sung?

What interests you most about the poems? Why?

What questions might you ask about the poems?

What are the poems about?

What effects does the language create?

What is the effect of the poems’ structure and form?

What are the similarities and differences between the poems and other texts?

How do other people interpret this poem? Find sources/links…

What might make a good creative response to the poem?

How might you teach this poem?

 

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Blake’s ‘Night’ full of wolves, tygers, lions, birds, sleeping flocks and smiling moons

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The sun descending in the west,
The evening star does shine,
The birds are silent in their nest,
And I must seek for mine,
The moon like a flower,
In heavens high bower;
With silent delight,
Sits and smiles on the night.

Farewell green fields and happy groves,
Where flocks have took delight;
Where lambs have nibbled, silent moves
The feet of angels bright;
Unseen they pour blessing,
And joy without ceasing,
On each bud and blossom,
And each sleeping bosom.

They look in every thoughtless nest,
Where birds are coverd warm;
They visit caves of every beast,
To keep them all from harm:
If they see any weeping,
That should have been sleeping
They pour sleep on their head
And sit down by their bed.

When wolves and tygers howl for prey
They pitying stand and weep;
Seeking to drive their thirst away,
And keep them from the sheep,
But if they rush dreadful;
The angels most heedful,
Recieve each mild spirit,
New worlds to inherit.

And there the lions ruddy eyes,
Shall flow with tears of gold:
And pitying the tender cries,
And walking round the fold:
Saying: wrath by his meekness
And by his health, sickness,
Is driven away,
From our immortal day.

And now beside thee bleating lamb,
I can lie down and sleep;
Or think on him who bore thy name,
Grase after thee and weep.
For wash’d in lifes river,
My bright mane for ever,
Shall shine like the gold,
As I guard o’er the fold.

Questions to answer on the poem

 

What effects are created when the poem is read aloud or sung?

What interests you most about the poem? Why?

What questions might you ask about the poem?

What is the poem about?

What effects does the language create?

What is the effect of the poem’s structure and form?

What are the similarities and differences between other texts?

How do other people interpret this poem? Find sources/links…

What might make a good creative response to the poem?

How might you teach this poem?