The Chimney Sweeper – Wikipedia
The poem “The Chimney Sweeper,” from Songs of Experience, is set against the dark backdrop of child labor that was prevalent in England in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Benjamin Britten set the poem to music in 1965 as part of his song cycle Songs and Proverbs of William Blake.
When my mother died when I was young, and my father sold me while my tongue could barely cry weep weep weep 0ewter than I could speak, I began to sweep your chimneys, and now I am a man who sweeps your chimneys.
In Innocence’s poem ‘The Chimney Sweeper,’ Blake criticizes the Church’s belief that by working hard and suffering, one will be rewarded in the next life; the poem shows how the Church’s teachings of suffering and hardship in order to attain heaven are harmful, and’make up a heaven’ of the child’s suffering.
Scholars agree that “The Chimney Sweeper” is the 12th object in the order of the original Songs of Innocence and of Experience printings, whereas the “of Experience” version of the poem was 37th in the order of publication.
The Chimney Sweeper, William Blake Archive, April 30, 2015. Songs of Innocence and Experience, copy L, object 7 (Bentley 12, Erdman 12, Keynes 12) The Chimney Sweeper, William Blake Archive, April 30, 2015.
The William Blake Archive has a comparison of Blake’s original illustrated versions of the Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience poems.
What is the subject of the chimney sweeper?
The poem presents the miseries of children as chimney sweepers and their contentment in life, and it is through the mouths of two young speakers that the poet conveys his idea that one should not lose hope.
What literary devices are used in the chimney sweeper?
William Blake’s narrative poem “The Chimney Sweeper” employs rhetorical devices to explore the difficulties of true salvation through literal and figurative language, using imagery, symbolism, and metaphor to create a tone of misery for both the speaker and little Tom Dacre.
How do you cite a chimney sweeper?
Blake, William, and Paul P. Piech. The Chimney Sweeper. Bushey, Eng: Taurus Press, 1969. MLA (7th ed.) Blake, William, and Paul P. Piech. The Chimney Sweeper. Bushey, Eng: Taurus Press, 1969.
What stanza format is used in the chimney sweeper?
The poem is made up of six stanzas, each of which is a quatrain, which means it has four lines. The rhyme scheme is AABB u2013 CCDD u2013 EEFF u2013 GGHH u2013 IIJJ u2013 KKLL. Because William Blake was also a musician, he pays special attention to intonation, metrical foot, and rhyme.
What is the moral of chimney sweeper?
The theme of “The Chimney Sweeper” is the cruelty of life and society as seen through the eyes of a child, as it is in much of Blake’s more somber poetry.
Why did the speaker cry in The Chimney Sweeper?
Tom weeps because he loses all of his hair as a chimney sweeper, but the narrator assures him that it is better that he loses his hair because it will not get dirty with soot.
What does the angel represent in the chimney sweeper?
In Tom’s dream, an angel appears as a savior, releasing the chimney sweepers from their graves and telling Tom that if he’s a good boy, God will love him; it appears that the angel is telling Tom to do his job.
How does the chimney sweeper use imagery?
In Christian symbolism, white is often associated with innocence, so the vivid imagery of darkness stands in stark contrast. Images of darkness accompany the children’s work as chimney sweepers, implying that the labor and harsh conditions are the causes of their loss of innocence.
What type of irony is used in the chimney sweeper?
4.3 Dramatic Irony The first irony in this poem is found in the first stanza, which describes how a young boy became a chimney sweeper, a job that requires a young boy to climb into a chimney and sweep the soot out. His mother died when he was a small child.
How do you cite Songs of Innocence and Experience?
Songs of Innocence: And, Songs of Experience. New York, N.Y.: Dover, 1992. MLA (7th ed.) Blake, William, and William Blake. Songs of Innocence: And, Songs of Experience. New York, N.Y.: Dover, 1992.
How do you cite the poem William Blake?
William Blake: Poems. London: Faber and Faber, 2010. Print. MLA (7th ed.) Blake, William, and James Fenton. William Blake: Poems. London: Faber and Faber, 2010. Print.
What meter is The Chimney Sweeper?
“The Chimney Sweeper” is a metrical poem with a sloppy meter; most of the feet are iambic (da-DUM) or anapaestic anapaestic (da-da-DUM), and there are frequently four of these feet per line, making the poem iambic tetrameter.
Who is the speaker of chimney sweeper?
As the speaker of the poem, Tom Dacre was a chimney sweeper, and he represents the innocence of the little chimney sweepers who were forced to work in inhumane conditions.
What is the tone of the poem chimney sweeper?
The poem’s tone is one of gentle innocence and trust, which contrasts sharply with the poem’s grim subject. The young chimney sweeper’s words reveal that he and his fellow sweep are in a difficult situation; they are among society’s most vulnerable: orphaned or unwanted young children.