Songs of Innocence/Nurse's Song

For works with similar titles, see Nurse's Song.

Nurse's Song is the name of two related poems by William Blake, published in Songs of Innocence in 1789 and Songs of Experience in 1794. The poem in Songs of Innocence tells the tale of a Nurse, who, we are to assume, is looking over some children playing out in the field. After trying to call them in, they protest, claiming that it is still light, and therefore there is still time to play. The poem fits in with the theme of innocence, as it makes no mention of the negative aspects of playing outside; the children are oblivious to the dangers of playing outside late at night that would be considered in a modern society. The language uses various images associated with children's playing and imagination. The Nurse is of a jovial and warmhearted nature, as she allows the children to continue with their games, with no thought for the wider consequences. — Excerpted from Nurse's Song on Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Plate of Nurse's Song

When the voices of children are heard on the green,
And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast,
And everything else is still.

‘Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down,
And the dews of night arise;
Come, come leave off play, and let us away
Till the morning appears in the skies.’

‘No, no, let us play, for it is yet day,
And we cannot go to sleep;
Besides, in the sky the little birds fly,
And the hills are all cover'd with sheep.’

‘Well, well, go and play till the light fades away,
And then go home to bed.’
The little ones leapèd, and shoutèd, and laugh'd
And all the hills echoèd.

This work was published before January 1, 1928, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.