- Duration: 4 minutes
- Chorus: SATB or SSAA
- Instrumentation: Piano
- Published by: GIA Publications
Sheet Music will be available Spring 2021.
The sixth piece from Songs of Innocence collection, A Cradle Song aims to compliment the deep beauty of the text. Essentially a lullaby, the ‘song’ aims to create a sense of sweetness and calm with its rocking piano figurations and flowing melody. However, we are not spared the pain of motherhood: the tenor soloist relates how the child sleeps ‘while o’er thee thy mother weep.’ The simple truth is that pure human love brings pain and, for a performance of this song to succeed, that pain must be felt by performers and audience alike.
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)