Auguries of Innocence

Author: William Blake  | Date: 1803


To see a World in a Grain of Sand

And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,

Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand

And Eternity in an hour.

A Robin Red breast in a Cage

Puts all Heaven in a Rage.

A dove house fill’d with doves & Pigeons

Shudders Hell thro’ all its regions.

A dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate

Predicts the ruin of the State.

A Horse misus’d upon the Road

Calls to Heaven for Human blood.

Each outcry of the hunted Hare

A fibre from the Brain does tear.

A Skylark wounded in the wing,

A Cherubim does cease to sing.

The Game Cock clip’d & arm’d for fight

Does the Rising Sun affright.

Every Wolf’s & Lion’s howl

Raises from Hell a Human Soul.

The wild deer, wand’ring her & there,

Keeps the Human Soul from Care.

The Lamb misus’d breeds Public strife

And yet forgives the Butcher’s Knife.

The Bat that flits at close of Eve

Has left the Brain that won’t Believe.

The Owl that calls upon the Night

Speaks the Unbeliever’s fright.

He who shall hurt the little Wren

Shall never be belov’d by Men.

He who the Ox to wrath has mov’d

Shall never be by Woman lov’d.

The wanton Boy that kills the Fly

Shall feel the Spider’s enmity.

He who torments the Chafer’s sprite

Weaves a Bower in endless Night.

The Caterpillar on the Leaf

Repeats to thee thy Mother’s grief.

Kill not the Moth nor Butterfly,

For the Last Judgment draweth nigh.

He who shall train the Horse to War

Shall never pass the Polar Bar.

The Beggar’s Dog & Widow’s Cat,

Feed them & thou wilt grow fat.

The Gnat that sings his Summer’s song

Poison gets from Slander’s tongue.

The poison of the Snake & Newt

Is the sweat of Envy’s Foot.

The Poison of the Honey Bee

Is the Artist’s Jealousy.

The Prince’s Robes & Beggar’s Rags

Are Toadstools on the Miser’s Bags.

A truth that’s told with bad intent

Beats all the Lies you can invent.

It is right it should be so;

Man was made for Joy & Woe;

And when this we rightly know

Thro’ the World we safely go,

Joy & Woe are woven fine,

A Clothing for the Soul divine;

Under every grief & pine

Runs a joy with silken twine.

The Babe is more than swadling Bands;

Throughout all these Human Lands

Tools were made, & Born were hands,

Every Farmer Understands.

Every Tear from Every Eye

Becomes a Babe in Eternity;

This is caught by Females bright

And return’d to its own delight.

The Bleat, the Bark, Bellow & Roar

Are Waves that Beat on Heaven’s Shore.

The Babe that weeps the Rod beneath

Writes Revenge in realms of death.

The Beggar’s Rags, fluttering in Air,

Does to Rags the Heavens tear.

The Soldier, arm’d with Sword & Gun,

Palsied strikes the Summer’s Sun.

The poor Man’s Farthing is worth more

Than all the Gold on Afric’s Shore.

One Mite wrung from the Labrer’s hands

Shall buy & sell the Miser’s Lands:

Or, if protected from on high,

Does the whole Nation sell & buy.

He who mocks the Infant’s Faith

Shall be mock’d in Age & Death.

He who shall teach the Child to Doubt

The rotting Grave shall ne’er get out.

He who respects the Infant’s faith

Triumphs over Hell & Death.

The Child’s Toys & the Old Man’s Reasons

Are the Fruits of the Two seasons.

The Questioner, who sits so sly,

Shall never know how to Reply.

He who replies to words of Doubt

Doth put the Light of Knowledge out.

The Strongest Poison ever known

Came from Caesar’s Laurel Crown.

Nought can deform the Human Race

Like to the Armour’s iron brace.

When Gold & Gems adorn the Plow

To peaceful Arts shall Envy Bow.

A Riddle or the Cricket’s Cry

Is to Doubt a fit Reply.

The Emmet’s Inch & Eagle’s Mile

Make Lame Philosophy to smile.

He who Doubts from what he sees

Will ne’er Believe, do what you Please.

If the Sun & Moon should doubt,

They’d immediately Go out.

To be in a Passion you Good may do,

But no Good if a Passion is in you.

The Whore & Gambler, by the State

Licenc’d, build that Nation’s Fate.

The Harlot’s cry from Street to Street

Shall weave old England’s winding Sheet.

The Winners Shout, the Loser’s Curse,

Dance before dead England’s Hearse.

Every Night & every Morn

Some to Misery are Born.

Every Morn & every Night

Some are Born to sweet delight.

Some are Born to sweet delight,

Some are Born to Endless Night.

We are led to Believe a Lie

When we see not Thro’ the Eye

Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night

When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light.

God Appears & God is Light

To those poor Souls who dwell in Night,

But does a Human Form Display

To those who Dwell in Realms of day.

Related Resources

William Blake

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Chicago: William Blake, Auguries of Innocence Original Sources, accessed May 26, 2024,

MLA: Blake, William. Auguries of Innocence, Original Sources. 26 May. 2024.

Harvard: Blake, W, Auguries of Innocence. Original Sources, retrieved 26 May 2024, from