Home  »  The Oxford Book of English Verse  »  486. Reeds of Innocence

Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.

William Blake. 1757–1827

486. Reeds of Innocence

PIPING down the valleys wild, 
  Piping songs of pleasant glee, 
On a cloud I saw a child, 
  And he laughing said to me: 
‘Pipe a song about a Lamb!’         5
  So I piped with merry cheer. 
‘Piper, pipe that song again;’ 
  So I piped: he wept to hear. 
‘Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe; 
  Sing thy songs of happy cheer!’  10
So I sung the same again, 
  While he wept with joy to hear. 
‘Piper, sit thee down and write 
  In a book that all may read.’ 
So he vanish’d from my sight;  15
  And I pluck’d a hollow reed, 
And I made a rural pen, 
  And I stain’d the water clear, 
And I wrote my happy songs 
  Every child may joy to hear.  20