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.

501    The Little Black Boy

MY mother bore me in the southern wild,
   And I am black, but O, my soul is white !
White as an angel is the English child,
   But I am black, as if bereaved of light.

My mother taught me underneath a tree,
   And, sitting down before the heat of day,
She took me on her lap and kissàed me,
   And, pointing to the East, began to say:

‘Look at the rising sun: there God does live,
   And gives His light, and gives His heat away,
And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive
   Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday.

‘And we are put on earth a little space,
   That we may learn to bear the beams of love;
And these black bodies and this sunburnt face
   Are but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

‘For when our souls have learn’d the heat to bear,
   The cloud will vanish, we shall hear His voice,
Saying, ‘‘Come out from the grove, my love and care,
   And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.’’ ’

Thus did my mother say, and kissàed me,
   And thus I say to little English boy.
When I from black and he from white cloud free,
   And round the tent of God like lambs we joy,

I’ll shade him from the heat till he can bear
   To lean in joy upon our Father’s knee;
And then I’ll stand and stroke his silver hair,
   And be like him, and he will then love me.

502    Hear the Voice

HEAR the voice of the Bard,
Who present, past, and future, sees;
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word
That walk’d among the ancient trees;

Calling the lapsàed soul,
And weeping in the evening dew;
That might control
The starry pole,
And fallen, fallen light renew !

‘O Earth, O Earth, return !
Arise from out the dewy grass !
Night is worn,
And the morn
Rises from the slumbrous mass.

‘Turn away no more;
Why wilt thou turn away?
The starry floor,
The watery shore,
Is given thee till the break of day.’

503    The Tiger

TIGER, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And, when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? What the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

  By PanEris using Melati.

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