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The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Innocence)

The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Innocence)


by William Blake

The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Innocence) Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

It's gonna be a bumpy ride, Shmoopers. So hold on tight. We've got a lot of explaining to do. Four Beats a LineLike many of Blake's poems, the meter of "The Chimney Sweeper" is all over the place....


Our speaker has it seriously rough. Orphan, child laborer, possibly homeless. You run down the list of bad ways to live, and he pretty much checks 'em all off. And none of it is his fault. See, he'...


It's not tough work imagining a setting for this poem. Our chimney-sweeping speaker is a young British boy in the late 18th century, and he has a lot of chimney-sweeping buddies. They're dirty, the...

Sound Check

This poem is this close to being a nursery rhyme. Except instead of friendly animals and sunshine we get, uh, sooty chimneys and bald, overworked kids. Imagine your mama singing this one to lull yo...

What's Up With the Title?

The poem is called "The Chimney Sweeper," but it's really about a whole bunch of chimney sweepers. There's the speaker, who is little Tom's friend and fellow sweeper. Then there's Tom, who has a re...

Calling Card

Blake never tires of criticizing the Industrial Revolution (a general term to describe the rise of industry, factories, technology, and all sorts of other things), which took place over the course...


"The Chimney Sweeper" is a pretty easy poem. It doesn't include any long, weird words (like eleemosynary, although these boys could certainly use some eleemosynary aid), and the sentence structure...


Tom Dacre wasn't the only one. Blake claimed to receive "spiritual visitors" (i.e., ghosts, angels, etc.) throughout his life. (Source.)Blake's wife, Catherine Blake, was illiterate when he married...

Steaminess Rating

You can read this one to the kiddos.

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