A Little Boy Lost

Nought loves another as itself,
Nor venerates another so,
Nor is it possible to thought
A greater than itself to know.

'And, father, how can I love you
Or any of my brothers more?
I love you like the little bird
That picks up crumbs around the door.'

The Priest sat by and heard the child;
In trembling zeal he seized his hair,
He led him by his little coat,
And all admired the priestly care.

And standing on the altar high,
'Lo, what a fiend is here! said he:
'One who sets reason up for judge
Of our most holy mystery.'

The weeping child could not be heard,
The weeping parents wept in vain:
They stripped him to his little shirt,
And bound him in an iron chain,

And burned him in a holy place
Where many had been burned before;
The weeping parents wept in vain.
Are such thing done on Albion's shore?

by William Blake

Comments (17)

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A ghastly tale told so very elegantly.... The boys reasoning quite astute, I think, but to be met with such barbarity for falling outside the norm... I often forget the treacherous and inhumane way people treated one another back then. Drawing and quartering - a ghastly execution style by which four horses are tied to the limbs and driven in four different directions - was still very popular method during Blake's lifetime. Trial by fire, or trial by water consisted of subjecting a person to either burning or drowning for a set period of time - if he survived then it was deemed that God found him innocent. Blake was 36 years old when Marie Antoinette had her head so grisly cut off. It's amazing to me how much beauty and depth of feeling we can find in the words of those who lived then.... having lived in such an inhospitable time.... that marks the greatest civility I can imagine.
great poem of emotions
..................so true we must love ourselves before we can love others....
I feel that this poem describes how people often put religion before basic morals, and in doing so they are actually defying the religion. Isn't the base of most religions, especially Christianity, be good to one another? Yet through out history, people have been tortured and killed, all in the name of their peace loving religion.
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