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William Blake (1757-1827)

Holy Thursday: 'Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean


              1'Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
              2The children walking two and two, in red and blue and green,
              3Grey-headed beadles walk'd before, with wands as white as snow,
              4Till into the high dome of Paul's they like Thames' waters flow.

              5O what a multitude they seem'd, these flowers of London town!
              6Seated in companies they sit with radiance all their own.
              7The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
              8Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.

              9Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
            10Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of Heaven among.
            11Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor;
            12Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: William Blake, Songs of Innocence (1789). Blake's Illuminated Books, ed. David Bindman (Princeton, NJ: William Blake Trust; London: Tate Gallery, 1991-). See Vol. 2. PR 4142 B46 1991 ROBA.
First publication date: 1789
RPO poem editor: Northrop Frye
RP edition: 3RP 2.278.
Recent editing: 4:2002/3/14

Composition date: 1784
Rhyme: aabb


Other poems by William Blake