Please give me a summary of The Chimney Sweep, and come critical command of it.

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kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Chimney Sweep is an emotive poem recounting the cruel bondage of a young boy into the live of a young sweep's apprentice. Blake's use of personal pronouns engages the reader and adds to their discomfort with the poem, as is typical of Blake's Songs of Experience-

So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep.

We are told of poor Tom Dacre, saddened by his hair being cut off but comforted by his dream of freedom at the hands of an angel-

And by came an angel, who had a bright key,
And he opened the coffins, & set them all free;

There is great pathos in the final line

So, if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.

The surface meaning here is that Tom will live happily in his innocence, yet of course there is hte deep irony that the reading public are not 'doing their duty' if they allow their chimneys to be cleaned by young boys in such conditions. The 'harm' to be 'feared', then, is surely directed at the reader for his ignorance.