Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
Songs of Innocence
Nurse’s Song
WHEN 1 the voices of children are heard on the green,
And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast,
And everything else is still.
‘Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down,        5
And the dews of night arise;
Come, come, leave off play, and let us away
Till the morning appears in the skies.’
‘No, no, let us play, for it is yet day,
And we cannot go to sleep;        10
Besides, in the sky the little birds fly,
And the hills are all cover’d with sheep.’
‘Well, well, go and play till the light fades away,
And then go home to bed.’
The little ones leapèd and shoutèd and laugh’d        15
And all the hills echoèd.
Note 1. Nurse’s Song] An earlier version of this song is found in the MS. known as An Island in the Moon (chap. xi), the first readings, most of which have been there corrected to their present form, being noted below. 1 voices] tongues Isl. in Moon. 2 And laughing upon the hill Isl. in Moon 2nd rdg. (afterwards re-corrected to its earlier and present form). 5 Then come home, children, the sun is down. Isl. in Moon 1st rdg. 10 And we cannot sleep till it’s dark Isl. in Moon 1st rdg. 11 The flocks are at play and we can’t go away Isl. in Moon 1st rdg. 12 And the meadows are cover’d with sheep Isl. in Moon 1st rdg. [back]

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