ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Poem ''Chimney Sweeper'' by William Blake.

Updated on November 7, 2018
Shawindi Silva profile image

Shawindi is a writer who is still learning and she believes that we are learning throughout our lives. Learning is the way to live!

Who is William Blake?

William Blake (1757-1827) is sometimes mistakenly grouped with romantic poets but Blake was not a romantic poet. William Wordsworth is considered as the father of romanticism in England. And Blake is older than Wordsworth so he could not be a follower of Wordsworth. Blake was a man of his own type. In his poems he had some of the romantic elements. Blake had a very vivid imagination, once he claimed that God has put his head into his room through the window.

In the lifetime of Blake he was not recognized as a serious poet. He questioned the conventional ideas. People at that time thought that cities like London are paradises but Blake showed that those cities are like prisons in his poem ''London'' and in the poem ''Garden of Love'' he criticized the church for binding people with negative precepts. In those times he was treated as a mad man and after his poetry was recognized, that they include serious ideas.

The poem ''Chimney Sweeper''

Background of the poem.

During the days of William Blake the people in England used to gather around the fire place, for warmth and especially during the winter. They have used either firewood or coal as fuel. Therefore, the fire place and chimney got blackened by the soot. These chimneys were in the shape of funnels so that the top of them were not very wide but a small one can go to the top of that chimney whenever they want to clean it. Therefore, small boys just over 3-4 years were occupied as chimney sweepers by the capitalists. During these days, fathers and mothers had no time to spend on their children but to earn money to live. The children either has to be sent to a workshop somewhere or else they are sold, as a apprentices. Chimney sweeping is the hardest job ever a small boy can do. On the other hand it was a risky job and so many children met with accidents fallen from the chimney to die or else they would have a slow death because of the soot they inhale. In such a scenario, Blake voices the cry of chimney sweepers either single-parented or parent-less. According to the modern critics Blake is not only a romantic poet but also a social critic who pinpointed the social flaws as well as the individual flaws by composing poetry.

Plot Summary.

According to the title the speaker is a chimney sweeper who's mother is dead and has only his father as a parent.

He says that even before he could cry ''weep! weep! weep!'' he had to work as a chimney sweeper and sleep in soot as his father sold him.

In the second stanza the speaker reminds of his friend 'Tom Dacre' who cried when his head was shaved and loose his curly hair like lamb's back. So the speaker consoled Tom showing the benifits of a bare hair. He says that when it is shaved you won't get any soot in your white hair.

He was quietened by the speaker and fell asleep to see a dream that further consoling. In his dream Tom saw thousands of chimney sweepers including his friends Dick, Joe, Ned and Jack were locked up in coffins.

There was an angel who open the coffins with a bright key and set them all free to play leaping, laughing, running etc. and washing in a river down a green plane which has a lot of sun.

Then all of them left their bags behind as they washed in the river. They are naked and fair and they float in the sky and rise upon the clouds. the angel told Tom that if he had being a good boy he will be happy and have God for his father.

After seeing this dream Tom is awakened and both the speaker and Tom happily off for their work having their bags and brushes with the hope that God will be their father. So if all who do their duty are cared by God

The Rhyming Scheme.

There are six quatrains each following the ''a a b b'' rhyme scheme with two rhyming couplets per quatrain.

E.g- young - tongue (line 1 and 2)

weep - sleep (line 3 and 4)


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Shawindi Silva profile imageAUTHOR

      Shawindi Silva 

      7 months ago from Sri lanka

      I'm glad that you enjoyed. Thank you.

    • Abby Slutsky profile image

      Abby Slutsky 

      7 months ago from America

      You did a beautiful job telling the story of this poem and giving the reader information about the author. I almost felt like I was taking a class, but it was more interesting.

    • Shawindi Silva profile imageAUTHOR

      Shawindi Silva 

      9 months ago from Sri lanka

      I felt the same!!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      11 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Life was indeed very tough for these little chimney sweepers. A eye-opening read.

    • Shawindi Silva profile imageAUTHOR

      Shawindi Silva 

      23 months ago from Sri lanka

      Thank you - Astrid !!!

    • Astrid McClymont profile image

      Astrid McClymont 

      23 months ago from Glasgow, Scotland

      Great analysis! Looking forward to seeing more articles.

    • Shawindi Silva profile imageAUTHOR

      Shawindi Silva 

      2 years ago from Sri lanka


    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      2 years ago from USA

      Shawindi - Stopping by again to encourage you to continue writing! I'd love to read more of what you have to share with us.

    • Shawindi Silva profile imageAUTHOR

      Shawindi Silva 

      2 years ago from Sri lanka

      Thank you !! - Awignas !!

    • Awignas profile image

      Awignas Teryan 

      2 years ago from Tayan

      Nice Post Dear.

    • Shawindi Silva profile imageAUTHOR

      Shawindi Silva 

      2 years ago from Sri lanka

      Thank you so much - Devika and also happy to have a friend like you !!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Shawindi Silva, thank you for comment on my hub. You have shared a information that interests me and I appreciate your research. I am pleased to have another follower and my best wishes to your writing endevours.

    • Shawindi Silva profile imageAUTHOR

      Shawindi Silva 

      2 years ago from Sri lanka

      Thank you so much, FlourishAnyway ! This is my first article and thank you for appreciating !

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      2 years ago from USA

      This was such a vivid description that it made me want to go back and read some of Blake’s work—this poem and other work I have never read or haven’t read in a very long time.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)