Welcome to Poetry.com

Poetry.com is a huge collection of poems from famous and amateur poets from around the world — collaboratively published by a community of authors and contributing editors.

Navigate through our poetry database by subjects, alphabetically or simply search by keywords. You can submit a new poem, discuss and rate existing work, listen to poems using voice pronunciation and even translate pieces to many common and not-so-common languages.

The Little Black Boy

William Blake 1757 (Soho) – 1827 (London)

My mother bore me in the southern wild,
  And I am black, but oh 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 kissed me,
  And, pointed to the east, began to say:
 'Look on 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
  Is 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 kissed 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.

Rate this poem:(5.00 / 1 vote)
Font size:
Collection  Edit     

Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:15 min read

William Blake

William Blake was an English poet, painter and printmaker. more…

All William Blake poems | William Blake Books

FAVORITE (2 fans)

Discuss this William Blake poem with the community:



    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:


    "The Little Black Boy" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 25 Jan. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/39180/the-little-black-boy>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest poetry community and poems collection on the web!


    Are you a poetry master?

    "She walks in beauty, like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies."
    • A. John Keats
    • B. William Wordsworth
    • C. Percy Bysshe Shelley
    • D. Lord Byron

    Our favorite collection of

    Famous Poets


    Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.