The Eternal Life is My Only Happiness
Williams Blake’s “The Chimney Sweeper” if a graphic portrayal of a particular cultural aspect of England in the late 1700s. It is a masterful poem describing the lives of young boys sold by their parents, to work as chimney sweeps for the upper class in London. Although the poem’s connotation is that of a very dark and depressed nature, the religious imagery Blake uses indicates that the children will have a brighter future in eternity. Blake expresses his poem in first person, as a young chimney sweeper. This gives his poetic voice creditability because the subject of the poem is chimney sweepers. In addition, using first person creates a deeper sense of sympathy in the reader:
When my mother died I was very young.
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry “`weep! `weep! `weep! `weep!
So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep. (1-4)
This sympathy allows the reader to realize not only how these children lived, but also how they felt, and how they were deprived of their childhood. The speaker of the poem "The Chimney Sweeper" is a boy, sold like a slave by his father to be a chimney-sweep after his mother died when he was so young he could hardly say weep In other words the little boy could hardly speak the name of the occupation he was supposed to fill. Also, the use of the term weep signifies weeping for his mother. He could hardly apprehend the loss of one of his parents, the cruelty of his other parent selling him as a sweep, and also the misery of the life before him.
The young speaker introduces the reader to poor little Tom, whom he comforts and assures all will be well. If the children make the sacrifice of living out their lives here on Earth, no matter how dark and dismal it may seem at the time, they will be rewarded in heaven, as long as they know the glory of God and trust in him:
There’s little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head,
That curled like a lamb’s back, was...