The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Innocence)
by William Blake
The Chimney Sweeper (Songs of Innocence) Religion Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Line)
There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head,
That curled like a lamb's back, was shaved: [...] (5-6)
The lamb is an important symbol in Christianity. Jesus is often described as the Lamb of God, the one who sacrificed himself to atone for the sins of humanity. So does that make Tom Dacre a Christ-like figure? If so, how does that change the way we see the kid?
And by came an angel who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins and set them all free; (13-14)
The angel is a savior. The poem suggests here that only God's representative—somebody with some serious connections up in Heaven—can release mankind from death. The strange thing is that this whole thing happens in a dream, the realm of fantasy and unreality.
Then down a green plain leaping, laughing, they run,
And wash in a river, and shine in the sun. (15-16)
The image of the children washing in a river suggests baptism, the process by which children are cleansed of their sins after they are born (in Christian faiths). The lines suggest that somehow the children have sinned, or are covered in sin, and must be cleansed.