Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
Songs of Experience
A Little Boy Lost
‘NOUGHT 1 loves another as itself,
Nor venerates another so,
Nor is it possible to Thought
A greater than itself to know:
‘And, Father, how can I love you        5
Or any of my brothers more?
I love you like the little bird
That picks up crumbs around the door.’
The Priest sat by and heard the child,
In trembling zeal he seiz’d his hair:        10
He led him by his little coat,
And all admir’d the priestly care.
And standing on the altar high,
Lo! what a fiend is here,’ said he,
‘One who sets reason up for judge        15
Of our most holy Mystery.’
The weeping child could not be heard,
The weeping parents wept in vain;
They stripp’d him to his little shirt,
And bound him in an iron chain;        20
And burn’d him in a holy place,
Where many had been burn’d before:
The weeping parents wept in vain.
Are such things done on Albion’s shore?
Note 1. A Little Boy Lost] Then, Father, I cannot love you MS. 1st rdg. del. 6 Or] Nor MS. 1st rdg. del. 7 I love myself: so does the bird MS. 1st rdg. del. 11, 12 In the first draft:
The mother follow’d, weeping loud,
‘O, that I such a fiend should bear!’
which was next changed to:
Then led him by his little coat
To shew his zealous priestly care.
19 They] And MS. 1st rdg. del.
  19, 20
They bound the little ivory limbs
In a cruel iron chain    MS. 1st rdg. del.
21 They burn’d him in a holy fire MS. 1st rdg. del. 24 Such things are done on Albion’s shore MS. 1st rdg. [back]

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