Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
Songs of Innocence
Holy Thursday
’TWAS 1 on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two and two, in red and blue and green,
Grey-headed beadles walk’d before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Paul’s they like Thames’ waters flow.
O what a multitude they seem’d, these flowers of London town!        5
Seated in companies they sit with radiance all their own.
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.
Now like a mighty wind they raise to Heaven the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of Heaven among.        10
Beneath them sit the agèd men, wise guardians of the poor;
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.
Note 1. Holy Thursday] Engraved with some corrections from the original version, which occurs in An Island in the Moon (chap. xi). 1 ’Twas on a] Upon a Isl. in Moon. 2 red] grey Isl. in Moon. 7 was] were Isl. in Moon. 8 And all in order sit waiting the chief chanter’s commands Isl. in Moon 1st rdg. del.; Thousands of little girls and boys, etc. ibid. 2nd rdg. 9–12 In Blake’s first draft this stood:
Then like a mighty wind they raise to heav’n the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heav’n among,
When the whole multitude of innocents their voices raise
Like angels on the throne of heav’n, raising the voice of praise.
Blake then deleted the entire stanza, and began:
Let cherubim and seraphim now raise their voices high.
This also was cancelled, and the stanza rewritten with the slight changes noted below. 9 Now] Then Isl. in Moon. 11 agèd] rev’rend Isl. in Moon. wise guardians] the guardians Isl. in Moon. [back]

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