As becomes more clear in Blake's the poet had little patience with palliative measures that did nothing to alter the present suffering of impoverished families.
The speaker comforts Tom, who falls asleep and has a dream or vision of several chimney sweepers all locked in black coffins.
An angel arrives with a special key that opens the locks on the coffins and sets the children free.
“And the Angel told Tom, if he’d be a good boy, He’d have God for his father, and never want joy.” This line of the poem indicates that if Tom was a good child and did as he was told on Earth that he would not be forsaken by God as his parents had forsaken him in his former life, but instead he would have everything he could ever possibly desire and be completely content in his afterlife.
“And so Tom awoke; and we rose in the dark, And got with our bags and our brushes to work.
Like many of Blake’s most celebrated poems, ‘The Chimney Sweeper’ – in both versions – uses fairly straightforward language, although some words of analysis may help to shed light on the meaning of these two poems. never mind it, for when your head’s bare, You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.’ And so he was quiet; and that very night, As Tom was a-sleeping, he had such a sight, – That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack, Were all of them locked up in coffins of black.
Let’s start with the first ‘The Chimney Sweeper’ poem, from the 1789 volume, followed by some words of analysis. And by came an angel who had a bright key, And he opened the coffins and set them all free; Then down a green plain leaping, laughing, they run, And wash in a river, and shine in the sun.The first stanza introduces the speaker, a young boy who has been forced by circumstances into the hazardous occupation of chimney sweeper.The second stanza introduces Tom Dacre, a fellow chimney sweep who acts as a foil to the speaker.And so Tom awoke; and we rose in the dark, And got with our bags and our brushes to work.Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy and warm; So if all do their duty they need not fear harm.The Chimney Sweeper (from ) When my mother died I was very young, And my father sold me while yet my tongue Could scarcely cry ‘weep! Then naked and white, all their bags left behind, They rise upon clouds and sport in the wind; And the angel told Tom, if he’d be a good boy, He’d have God for his father, and never want joy. There’s little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head, That curled like a lamb’s back, was shaved: so I said, ‘Hush, Tom!Which is defined in the Bible as being a water ritual, used as a spiritual symbol.Through this process the sweeps would be washed clean of all of their sins and also be cleansed of all of the bad things in their lives including their jobs.Summary The speaker of this poem is a small boy who was sold into the chimney-sweeping business when his mother died.He recounts the story of a fellow chimney sweeper, Tom Dacre, who cried when his hair was shaved to prevent vermin and soot from infesting it.