Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
Songs of Experience
The Little Vagabond
DEAR 1 mother, dear mother, the Church is cold,
But the Ale-house is healthy and pleasant and warm;
Besides I can tell where I am used well,
Such usage in Heaven will never do well.
But if at the Church they would give us some ale,        5
And a pleasant fire our souls to regale,
We’d sing and we’d pray all the livelong day,
Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray.
Then the Parson might preach, and drink, and sing,
And we’d be as happy as birds in the spring;        10
And modest Dame Lurch, who is always at church,
Would not have bandy children, nor fasting, nor birch.
And God, like a father, rejoicing to see
His children as pleasant and happy as He,
Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the barrel,        15
But kiss him, and give him both drink and apparel.
Note 1. The Little Vagabond] The little pretty Vagabond [pretty del.] MS. 4 Such usage in heaven makes all go to hell MS. 1st rdg. del. The poor parsons with wind like a blown bladder swell MS. 2nd rdg. 13 rejoicing to see] that joys for to see MS. 1st rdg. del. 16 But shake hands and kiss him and there’d be no more hell MS. 1st rdg. del. But kiss him and give him both food [del. changed to ‘drink’] and apparel MS. 2nd rdg. [back]

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