#ClasicalPoetry & #FineArtFriday: Night, by William Blake

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Songs of Innocence and of Experience Showing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul title page

Night

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 heaven’s 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.

 

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Death on a Pale Horse, painting by William Blake (medium pencil, pen, and water color)

They look in every thoughtless nest

Where birds are covered 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 tigers 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,

Receive each mild spirit,

New worlds to inherit.

 

And there the lion’s 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.

 

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Blake’s title plate (No.29) for Songs of Experience

‘And now beside thee, bleating lamb,

I can lie down and sleep,

Or think on Him who bore thy name,

Graze after thee, and weep.

For, washed in life’s river,

My bright mane for ever

Shall shine like the gold,

As I guard o’er the fold.’


Night, by William Blake PD|100

[First published 1789 in Songs of Innocence and Experience, collected poems written and illustrated by William Blake.]

Title Page Illustrations by William Blake

Painting: Death on a Pale Horse, Commissioned from Blake and acquired by Thomas Butts c. 1800 (via Wikimedia Commons)

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Filed under #FlashFictionFriday, Fantasy, Literature, Poetry

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