Poetical sketches by William Blake now first reprinted from the original edition of 1783/Blind-man's Buff
WHEN silver snow decks Susan's clothes,
And jewel hangs at th' shepherd's nose,
The blushing bank is all my care,
With hearth so red, and walls so fair.
"Heap the sea-coal, come, heap it higher,
"The oaken log lay on the fire:"
The well-wash'd stools, a circling row,
With lad and lass, how fair the show!
The merry can of nut-brown ale,
The laughing jest, the love-sick tale,
Till, tired of chat, the game begins,
The lasses prick the lads with pins;
Roger from Dolly twitch'd the stool,
She falling, kiss'd the ground, poor fool!
She blush'd so red, with side-long glance
At hobnail Dick, who grieved the chance.
But now for Blind-man's Buff they call;
Of each incumbrance clear the hall—
Jenny her silken kerchief folds,
And blear-eyed Will the black lot holds,
Now laughing, stops, with "Silence, hush!"
And Peggy Pout gives Sam a push.—
The Blind-man's arms, extended wide,
Sam slips between:—"O woe betide
Thee, clumsy Will!—"but tittering Kate
Is penn'd up in the corner strait!
And now Will's eyes beheld the play,
He thought his face was t'other way.
"Now, Kitty, now; what chance hast thou,
"Roger so near thee trips, I vow!"
She catches him—then Roger ties
His own head up—but not his eyes;
For thro' the slender cloth he sees,
And runs at Sam, who slips with ease
His clumsy hold; and, dodging round,
Sukey is tumbled on the ground!—
"See what it is to play unfair!
"Where cheating is, there's mischief there"
But Roger still pursues the chace,—
"He sees! he sees!" cries softly Grace;
"O Roger, thou, unskill'd in art
"Must, surer bound, go thro' thy part!"
Now Kitty, pert, repeats the rhymes
And Roger turns him round three times,
Then pauses ere he starts; but Dick
Was mischief-bent upon a trick;
Down on his hands and knees he lay
Directly in the Blind-man's way,
Then cries out, "Hem!" Hodge heard, and ran
With hood-wink'd chance—sure of his man;
But down he came.—Alas, how frail
Our best of hopes, how soon they fail!
With crimson drops he stains the ground,
Confusion startles all around!
Poor piteous Dick supports his head,
And fain would cure the hurt he made;
But Kitty hasted with a key
And down his back they straight convey
The cold relief—the blood is stay'd
And Hodge again holds up his head.
Such are the fortunes of the game,
And those who play should stop the same
By wholesome laws, such as—all those
Who on the blinded man impose,
Stand in his stead; as long agone
When men were first a nation grown,
Lawless they lived, till wantonness
And liberty began t' increase,
And one man lay in another's way;
Then laws were made to keep fair play.