William Blake was only one degree of separation removed from Thomas Jefferson. They were both friends with the great enlightenment thinker and writer Thomas Paine. This poem is very much a poem of that enlightenment, the spirit of which we could use now. This is from Songs of Experience.
by William Blake
I love to rise in a summer morn,
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the sky-lark sings with me.
O! what sweet company.
But to go to school in a summer morn,
O! it drives all joy away;
Under a cruel eye outworn.
The little ones spend the day,
In sighing and dismay.
Ah! then at times I drooping sit,
And spend many an anxious hour,
Nor in my book can I take delight,
Nor sit in learnings bower,
Worn thro’ with the dreary shower.
How can the bird that is born for joy,
Sit in a cage and sing.
How can a child when fears annoy.
But droop his tender wing.
And forget his youthful spring.
O! father & mother. if buds are nip’d,
And blossoms blown away,
And if the tender plants are strip’d
Of their joy in the springing day,
By sorrow and care’s dismay.
How shall the summer arise in joy.
Or the summer fruits appear.
Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy
Or bless the mellowing year.
When the blasts of winter appear.
I used to love teaching summer school at the five institutions of “higher learning” where I was employed. There were only two types of students–highly dedicated ones, or those who had no intention of attending class. I forget which one I preferred.