10 Short Famous Poems by William Blake


William Blake and His Famous Poems - William Blake was born at 28 Broad Street in Soho, London on 27 November 1757. His father James Blake was a hosier. He and his wife Catherine had 6 children. William Blake was a famous poet, painter and engraver of the late 18th century and early 19th century. Blake was a radical, anti authority figure. 

Apart from William they had 4 boys and 1 girl. From an early age William Blake was artistic. He also had 'visions' of things like angels. When he was 14 William was made apprentice to an engraver called James Basire. William served 7 years and became an engraver himself in 1779. Blake also wanted to paint and the same year he became a student at the Royal Academy of Arts.

On 18 August 1872 William Blake married Catherine Sophie Boucher at the Church of St Mary in Battersea. Blake also wrote poems. A book of poems called Poetical Sketches was published in 1783. In 1789 he published a book of poems called The Song of Innocence.
In 1793 Blake published Visions of the Daughters of Albion. The same year, 1793 Blake published The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Also in 1793 Blake published America, a Prophecy.

In 1794 Blake published a book of poems called Songs of Experience. It included the famous poem The Tiger. The Book of Urizen was also published in 1794. Also in 1794 William Blake published Europe, a Prophecy.

In 1800 William Blake moved to the village of Felpham near Bognor in Sussex. Then on 12 August 1803 Blake got into a fight with a soldier named John Schofield who entered his garden. Schofield later told a magistrate that Blake damned the king of England during the altercation. William Blake was tried for sedition (a serious charge) in Chichester in January 1804. However he was acquitted. Meanwhile in 1803 Blake and his wife returned to London. In the years 1804-1810 William Blake wrote and illustrated his poem Milton. The famous poem Jerusalem by William Blake was first published in 1820. Also in 1820 Blake painted a miniature called The Ghost of a Flea.

In 1825 Blake was commissioned illustrate Divine Comedy by Dante but he died before he could complete the task. William Blake died on 12 August 1827. He was buried in Bunhill Fields in London.


Here, you can read 10 famous short poems by William Blake:


A Poison Tree

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,
And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree.



The Tyger

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright, 
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?



A Divine Image

Cruelty has a human heart,
And Jealousy a human face;
Terror the human form divine,
And Secresy the human dress.

The human dress is forged iron,
The human form a fiery forge,
The human face a furnace sealed,
The human heart its hungry gorge.



A Cradle Song

Sweet dreams form a shade,
O'er my lovely infants head.
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams,
By happy silent moony beams

Sweet sleep with soft down.
Weave thy brows an infant crown.
Sweet sleep Angel mild,
Hover o'er my happy child.

Sweet smiles in the night,
Hover over my delight.
Sweet smiles Mothers smiles,
All the livelong night beguiles.

Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
Chase not slumber from thy eyes,
Sweet moans, sweeter smiles,
All the dovelike moans beguiles.

Sleep sleep happy child,
All creation slept and smil'd.
Sleep sleep, happy sleep.
While o'er thee thy mother weep

Sweet babe in thy face,
Holy image I can trace.
Sweet babe once like thee.
Thy maker lay and wept for me

Wept for me for thee for all,
When he was an infant small.
Thou his image ever see.
Heavenly face that smiles on thee,

Smiles on thee on me on all,
Who became an infant small,
Infant smiles are His own smiles,
Heaven & earth to peace beguiles.



The Angel

I dreamt a dream! What can it mean?
And that I was a maiden Queen
Guarded by an Angel mild:
Witless woe was ne'er beguiled!

And I wept both night and day,
And he wiped my tears away;
And I wept both day and night,
And hid from him my heart's delight.

So he took his wings, and fled;
Then the morn blushed rosy red.
I dried my tears, and armed my fears
With ten-thousand shields and spears.

Soon my Angel came again;
I was armed, he came in vain;
For the time of youth was fled,
And grey hairs were on my head.



The Smile

There is a Smile of Love 
And there is a Smile of Deceit
And there is a Smile of Smiles
In which these two Smiles meet

And there is a Frown of Hate
And there is a Frown of disdain
And there is a Frown of Frowns
Which you strive to forget in vain

For it sticks in the Hearts deep Core
And it sticks in the deep Back bone
And no Smile that ever was smild
But only one Smile alone

That betwixt the Cradle & Grave
It only once Smild can be
But when it once is Smild
Theres an end to all Misery



Silent, Silent Night

Silent, silent night,
Quench the holy light
Of thy torches bright;

For possessed of Day
Thousand spirits stray
That sweet joys betray.

Why should joys be sweet
Used with deceit,
Nor with sorrows meet?

But an honest joy
Does itself destroy
For a harlot coy.



The Little Boy Lost

'Father, father, where are you going?
Oh do not walk so fast!
Speak, father, speak to you little boy,
Or else I shall be lost.'

The night was dark, no father was there,
The child was wet with dew;
The mire was deep, and the child did weep,
And away the vapour flew.



To Autumn

O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stainèd
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may'st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust'ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather'd clouds strew flowers round her head.

'The spirits of the air live on the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees.'
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat;
hen rose, girded himself, and o'er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.



The Land of Dreams

Awake, awake, my little boy! 
Thou wast thy mother's only joy;
Why dost thou weep in thy gentle sleep?
Awake! thy father does thee keep.

'O, what land is the Land of Dreams?
What are its mountains, and what are its streams?
O father! I saw my mother there,
Among the lilies by waters fair.

'Among the lambs, cloth? d in white,
She walk'd with her Thomas in sweet delight.
I wept for joy, like a dove I mourn;
O! when shall I again return? '

Dear child, I also by pleasant streams
Have wander'd all night in the Land of Dreams;
But tho' calm and warm the waters wide,
I could not get to the other side.

'Father, O father! what do we here
In this land of unbelief and fear?
The Land of Dreams is better far
Above the light of the morning star.'