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William Blake (1757-1827)

The Smile


              1There is a smile of love,
              2And there is a smile of deceit,
              3And there is a smile of smiles
              4In which these two smiles meet;

              5And there is a frown of hate,
              6And there is a frown of disdain,
              7And there is a frown of frowns
              8Which you strive to forget in vain,

              9For it sticks in the heart's deep core,
            10And it sticks in the deep back bone,
            11And no smile that ever was smil'd,
            12But only one smile alone

            13That betwixt the cradle and grave
            14It only once smil'd can be,
            15But when it once is smil'd,
            16There's an end to all misery.


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: Pierpont Morgan Library MS ("The Ballads [Pickering] Manuscript"). William Blake's Writings, ed. G. E. Bentley, Jr. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1978): II, 1303. PR 4141 B45 Robarts Library.
First publication date: 1807
Publication date note: (the date of the writing of the manuscript)
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2003
Recent editing: 1:2003/7/22

Composition date: 1800 - 1804
Form: quatrains
Rhyme: abcb


Other poems by William Blake