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The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Experience)
The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Experience)
by William Blake

The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Experience) Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Iambic TetrameterTake a look at line 6:And smiled among the winter's snow. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a perfect line of iambic tetrameter. That means it consists of four iambs ("an...

Speaker

Spoiler alert! This poem has two speakers. Yep, two. First, there's the dude that spots this little kiddo freezing in the snow and asks him, "hey, what's up with that? Where are the 'rents?"Then, t...

Setting

Luckily, Blake lays the setting out for us pretty clearly in the first line. We're "among the snow," where a young chimney sweeper waits for his parents to get out of a nearby church. So let's zoom...

Sound Check

"The Chimney Sweeper" is half childlike nursery rhyme and half nightmare. Strange combo, right? We've got those perfect, neat little rhymes and the sing-songy rhythm. But then we've got the subject...

What's Up With the Title?

Not to state the obvious or anything, but the poem's called "The Chimney Sweeper" because its about a chimney sweeper. A young, abandoned, crying one, to be exact. A brief brush-up on the history o...

Calling Card

A Vibrant Child SpeakerIn poetic terms, Blake loved children for their undistorted view of the world and for their innocence. He once claimed that the best or ideal readers of his works (even the r...

Tough-o-Meter

(2) Sea Level "The Chimney Sweeper" is a pretty easy poem; a young child narrates most of it, and he uses simple words and simple rhymes. There are a few strange sentences, especially the last one,...

Trivia

Blake often claimed that he had visions; as a child, he said he saw God through the window and that he once saw a tree full of angels. (Source.)Blake was very good at writing backwards—mirror wri...

Steaminess Rating

GBlake's poem is about a child who has, essentially, been abandoned by his parents. He is sitting in the snow and weeping. There is nothing sexual going on here.

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