“The Chimney Sweeper”Theme And Critical
‘The Chimney Sweeper’ is extraordinary compared to other known sonnets in the ‘Tunes of Innocence’. On Blake’s occasions, in England, little fellows were generally utilized by ace scopes for clearing smokestacks. A large number of the stacks had initially been worked with a wide draft for wood fires and had been modified and limited so that coal fires could be utilized. Others worked with rakish pipes to return dry spells and ‘smoking’. It was found by experience that the most effective method of tidying them was to send up a kid, outfitted with a brush.
The first bill became law in 1788. “Porters Act”, as it was known, limited the hours of work to the morning; and prohibited the employment of boys under eight. It was not until after a long struggle that finally in 1842, an Act was passed which raised the age of the apprenticeship to sixteen and permitted no child under the age of twenty-one to enter the chimney.
The little chimney-sweeps had many philanthropic friends, and lovers of Lamb’s essay “The Praise of Chimney Sweeper’s” will remember that his friend, Jim White, gave them a supper every year. Blake’s sympathy is evident, and his poem should be read along with Lamb’s essay. But the only bettering of a lot of the little chimney sweepers, he suggests, is in heaven. The poem succeeds in spite of its halting scansion, by its imaginative quality. Lamb thought very highly of it. He praised it, Bernard Barton.