Title Detail

Here is "THE Chimney Sweeper," as opposed to "The Chimney Sweeper" of Innocence. With the emphatic singularity of its title, engraved in Blake's flowing uncils rather than the roman lettering of the earlier poem, Blake signifies the limiting particularities of experience hemmed in by family, by church, and by the state.

Without the title and the illustration at the base of the plate, we'd have no way of knowing that the poem is "about" a chimney sweeper. The poem is bracketed by the two; or better yet, enveloped by them: wisps of smoke define the print's margins and twist into the title's lettering. Between them lies the text, and from the low pall of soot falls a kinetic shaft of pelting snow--of frozen rime, we could say.

To Stanza 1