• Duration: 4 minutes
  • Chorus: SATB or SSAA
  • Instrumentation: Piano or Organ
  • Published by: GIA Publications

The sixth piece from Songs of Innocence collection, A Cradle Song aims to compliment the deep beauty of William Blake’s text. 

Essentially a lullaby, the ‘song’ aims to create a sense of sweetness and calm with its rocking piano figurations and flowing melody.  Into this structure is woven a whole range of emotions – sheer delight in the newborn, a mother’s protectiveness, the pain of motherhood – and a sense that the whole experience is a gift from God.  For Patrick, the phrase ‘Sweet babe in thy face, Holy image can I trace‘ sums up the poem’s sentiments.  

For the full beauty of the text to be conveyed, a performance should maintain the flowing rhythms and phrases of the music, free from mannered changes in dynamic and tempo.

The Sheet Music for the complete collection of Songs of Innocence and the other standalone work The Lamb is also available.

Click here for more information on Songs of Innocence >

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N.B. This is Blake’s original text including his punctuation and grammar which differs from conventional use.

A Cradle Song

Sweet dreams form a shade,
O’er my lovely infants head.
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams,
By happy silent moony beams

Sweet sleep with soft down,
Weave thy brows an infant crown.
Sweet sleep Angel mild,
Hover o’er my happy child.

Sweet smiles in the night,
Hover over my delight.
Sweet smiles Mothers smiles
All the livelong night beguiles.

Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,
Chase not slumber from thy eyes,
Sweet moans, sweeter smiles,
All the dovelike moans beguiles.

Sleep sleep happy child,
All creation slept and smil’d.
Sleep sleep, happy sleep.
While o’er thee thy mother weep

Sweet babe in thy face,
Holy image I can trace.
Sweet babe once like thee,
Thy maker lay and wept for me

Wept for me for thee for all,
When he was an infant small.
Thou his image ever see.
Heavenly face that smiles on thee,

Smiles on thee on me on all,
Who became an infant small,
Infant smiles are his own smiles,
Heaven & earth to peace beguiles.

Words: William Blake (1757 – 1827)