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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


By William Blake (1757–1827)

From ‘Songs of Innocence’

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 in the night.

Farewell, green fields and happy groves

Where flocks have ta’en delight;

Where lambs have nibbled, silent move

The feet of angels bright;

Unseen they pour blessing,

And joy without ceasing,

On each bud and blossom,

And each sleeping bosom.

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 wild 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,

Are driven away

From our immortal day.

“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 forever

Shall shine like the gold,

As I guard o’er the fold.”