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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

A Little Boy Lost

William Blake (1757–1827)

‘NOUGHT loves another as itself,

Nor venerates another so,

Nor is it possible to Thought

A greater than itself to know:

‘And, Father, how can I love you

Or any of my brothers more?

I love you like the little bird

That picks up crumbs around the door.’

The Priest sat by and heard the child,

In trembling zeal he seiz’d his hair:

He led him by his little coat,

And all admir’d the priestly care.

And standing on the altar high,

‘Lo! what a fiend is here,’ said he,

‘One who sets reason up for judge

Of our most holy Mystery.’

The weeping child could not be heard,

The weeping parents wept in vain;

They strip’d him to his little shirt,

And bound him in an iron chain;

And burn’d him in a holy place,

Where many had been burn’d before:

The weeping parents wept in vain.

Are such things done on Albion’s shore?