William Blake

Poetry on Peace

William Blake:

French Revolution (1791)
A Cradle Song (1791)

Edited by Peter Y. Chou


The millions of spirits immortal were bound in the ruins
    of sulphur heaven
To wander enslaved; black, depressed in dark ignorance,
    kept in awe with the whip,
To worship terrors, bred from the blood of revenge and
    breath of desire,
In beastial forms, or more terrible men, till the dawn
    of our peaceful morning,
Till dawn, till morning, till the breaking of clouds,
    and swelling of winds, and the universal voice,
Till man raise his darkened limbs out of the caves of night,
    his eyes and his heart
Expand. Where is space? Where O sun is thy dwelling?
    where thy tent, O faint slumberous Moon?
Then the valleys of France shall cry to the soldier,
    "Throw down thy sword and musket,
And run and embrace the meek peasant."

"The French Revolution" (1791), Lines 213-221



Sleep, sleep, beauty bright,
Dreaming in the joys of night;
Sleep, sleep; in thy sleep
Little sorrows sit and weep.

Sweet babe, in thy face
Soft desires I can trace,
Secret joys and secret smiles,
Little pretty infant wiles.

As thy softest limbs I feel,
Smiles as of the morning steal
O'er thy cheek, and o'er thy breast,
Where thy little heart does rest.

O the cunning wiles that creep
In thy little heart asleep!
When thy little heart does wake,
Then the dreadful light shall break

From thy cheek and from thy eye,
O'er the youthful harvests nigh.
Infant wiles and infant smiles
Heaven and Earth of peace beguiles.

"A Cradle Song" (1791)

William Blake (1757-1827), Blake: The Complete Poems
(Edited by W. H. Stevenson), Longman, London, 1989, pp. 138, 148

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