The innocence of the children, symbolized by white, is tinged with impurity as the ‘coffins of black’ suggest. The sweepers are paid visit by an angel bearing ‘a bright key’ who reassures them that they ‘need not fear harm’ but the irony emerges at the end of the poem when the angel to whom the children looked up with hope that he would make them free from labor, the angel merely assures them that they do not need to be afraid of anything if ‘all do their duty’ and tells Tom that ‘if he’d be a good boy/He’d have God’.
The angel does not help children but he shows sympathy for the children. There also comes the horrible image of the dead children, Dick, Joe, Ned and Jack in coffin. The boys might have been dead. The imagery of heaven with a green plain where the dead souls of the children run leaping and laughing and wash in a river and shine in the sun, suggests that the happiness can reach the children only after the death. They can not escape their fate. In the Heaven the children rise upon clouds and sport in the wind. The luxuries and fun of Heaven can be available to the children only after a long run of miseries, mainly after their death. The material world, where the children are sold by their fathers from their infancy when they are unable to weep over the misery, is not a place to live for the innocent souls and they can have God and Heaven in the life after death. Apparently optimistic end of the song giving the chimney sweepers news of Heaven is bleak and ironic at its bottom because the innocent children do not get freedom till the end. They are found in their previous condition where they would work in chimneys and their lives would be in danger while they work.
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