Verse > William Blake > Poetical Works
William Blake (1757–1827).  The Poetical Works.  1908.
Poems from the Rossetti MS.: Earlier Poems
A Cradle Song
SLEEP! 1 sleep! beauty bright,
Dreaming o’er the joys of night;
Sleep! sleep! in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.
Sweet Babe, in thy face        5
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.
As thy softest limbs I feel,
Smiles as of the morning steal        10
O’er thy cheek, and o’er thy breast
Where thy little heart does rest.
O! the cunning wiles that creep
In thy little heart asleep.
When thy little heart does wake        15
Then the dreadful lightnings break,
From thy cheek and from thy eye,
O’er the youthful harvests nigh.
Infant wiles and infant smiles
Heaven and Earth of peace beguiles.        20
Note 1. A Cradle Song] Obviously designed as the contrary of ‘A Cradle Song’ in the Songs of Innocence. As first written the poem consisted of stanzas i, iii, and iv; stanza ii was then added and the end of the song indicated by a new terminal line, while still later Blake appended a final stanza and numbered the whole in their present order.
  1–4 The two couplets were originally written in reverse order. 2 Thou shalt taste the joys of night. MS. 1st rdg. del. 4 Thou wilt every secret keep MS. 1st rdg. del. Canst thou any secret keep MS. 2nd rdg. del. 8 Such as burning youth beguiles MS. 1st rdg. del.
  9, 10
Yet a little while the moon
abandoned opening of this stanza.
9 feel] touch MS. 1st rdg. del.; stroke MS. 2nd rdg. del. 10 steal] broke MS. 1st rdg. del. 19 Infant … infant] Female … female MS. 1st rdg. del. [back]

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