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Short poem

William Blake (1757-1827)

Holy Thursday: Is this a holy thing to see

              1Is this a holy thing to see
              2In a rich and fruitful land,
              3Babes reduc'd to misery,
              4Fed with cold and usurous hand?

              5Is that trembling cry a song?
              6Can it be a song of joy?
              7And so many children poor?
              8It is a land of poverty!

              9And their sun does never shine,
            10And their fields are bleak and bare,
            11And their ways are fill'd with thorns:
            12It is eternal winter there.

            13For where-e'er the sun does shine,
            14And where-e'er the rain does fall,
            15Babe can never hunger there,
            16Nor poverty the mind appall.

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 Experience (1794). 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: 1794
RPO poem editor: Northrop Frye
RP edition: 3RP 2.282.
Recent editing: 4:2002/3/14

Rhyme: abab

Other poems by William Blake