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  • Introduction

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  • Nurse's Song

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    (From Songs of Innocence and Experience)

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    The Songs of Innocence, The Songs of Experience and The Book of Thel by William Blake at Nimbi - William Blake's Life, Poetry and Art




    The daughters of Mne Seraphim led round their sunny flocks,
    All but the youngest: she in paleness sought the secret air.
    To fade away like morning beauty from her mortal day:
    Down by the river of Adona her soft voice is heard;
    And thus her gentle lamentation falls like morning dew.

    O life of this our spring!  why fades the lotus of the water?
    Why fade these children of the spring? born but to smile & fall.
    Ah! Thel is like a watry bow, and like a parting cloud,
    Like a reflection in a glass: like shadows in the water
    Like dreams of infants, like a smile upon an infants face.
    Like the doves voice, like transient day, like music in the air:
    Ah! gentle may I lay me down and gentle rest my head.
    And gentle sleep the sleep of death, and gently hear the voice
    Of him that walketh in the garden in the evening time.

    The Lilly of the valley breathing in the humble grass
    Answerd the lovely maid and said: I am a watry weed,
    And I am very small and love to dwell in lowly vales:
    So weak the gilded butterfly scarce perches on my head
    Yet I am visited from heaven and he that smiles on all
    Walks in the valley, and each morn over me spreads his hand
    Saying, rejoice thou humble grass, thou new-born lily flower.
    Thou gentle maid of silent valleys and of modest brooks:
    For thou shall be clothed in light, and fed with morning manna:
    Till summers heat melts thee beside the fountains and the springs
    To flourish in eternal vales: they why should Thel complain.
    Why should the mistress of the vales of Har, utter a sigh.

    She ceasd & smild in tears, then sat down in her silver shrine.

    Thel answerd, O thou little virgin of the peaceful valley.
    Giving to those that cannot crave, the voiceless, the o'er tired
    The breath doth nourish the innocent lamb, he smells the milky garments
    He crops thy flowers while thou sittest smiling in his face,
    Wiping his mild and meekin mouth from all contagious taints.
    Thy wine doth purify the golden honey; thy perfume.
    Which thou dost scatter on every little blade of grass that springs
    Revives the milked cow, & tames the fire-breathing steed.
    But Thel is like a faint cloud kindled at the rising sun:
    I vanish from my pearly throne, and who shall find my place.

    Queen of the vales the Lily answered, ask the tender cloud,
    And it shall tell thee why it glitters in the morning sky.
    And why it scatters its bright beauty thro the humid air.
    Descend O little cloud & hover before the eyes of Thel.

    The Cloud descended and the Lily bowd her modest head:
    And went to mind her numerous charge among the verdant grass.



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