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THE CHIMNEY SWEEPER

By
William Blake


William Blake ( 1757 - 1827 ) was a visionary.  Most thought him mad, but to Blake the world was mad with its wars, violence and cruelty.

The Chimney Sweep in past centuries, would gather stray children (orphans and homeless or buy them from impoverished parents) some as young as five and six years old, because of their size, to climb inside the narrow chimneys.  The children were underfed,  poorly clothed, abused and sometimes suffered the burning of their feet along with other prodding sources to induce them to climb.  A bill to stop the practice was proposed in London's Parliament in 1817, but it  was defeated . . . even though a sweeping machine had been in use for some fourteen years to eliminate the need of climbing boys.

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