William Blake’s Laughing Song

Laughing Song by William Blake

When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy
And the dimpling stream runs laughing by,
When the air does laugh with our merry wit,
And the green hill laughs with the noise of it.

When the meadows laugh with lively green
And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene,
When Mary and Susan and Emily,
With their sweet round mouths sing Ha, Ha, He.

When the painted birds laugh in the shade
Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread
Come live & be merry and join with me,
To sing the sweet chorus of Ha, Ha, He.

Spring merriment. Allen’s rendition of William Blake’s “Laughing Song” (from the 1969 Songs of Innocence and Experience) is the feature on the Allen Ginsberg Project for this weekend. Don Cherry plays sleigh bells and bearded gourd (sic), Cyril Caster, trumpet and French horn, Janet Zeitz, flute, Bob Dorough, harpsichord, and Michael Aldridge and Matt Hoffman join Allen and company on vocals.

Ed Sanders and The Fugs version of the song can be found here (2018 update -regretfully, no more)

Djennet Moskvin’s jaunty Russian rendition (allbeit with distracting visuals) is here.

Some simplified scholarly discussion of “Laughing Song” may be found here.

“Ha ha he!”

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