Here are two poems from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience. I know that I’ve put them out of order as London is from Experience and Laughing Song from Innocence, but I wanted to end on a more cheerful note. I feel that I’ve been rather gloomy and it is Easter.
The Songs are probably Blakes most well known works, and they are indeed songs. There is at least one account of Blake sitting at the pianoforte playing and singing his Songs as music students took down notation. I’m guessing that they were students of Dr. Charles Burney. Unfortunately, the melodies for the Songs are lost. The Songs have come down as poetry, and they stand alone without their music.
I wander thro’ each charter’d street,
In every cry of every Man,
How the Chimney-sweeper’s cry
But most thro’ midnight streets I hear
When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,
When the meadows laugh with lively green,
When the painted birds laugh in the shade,