William Blake, artist, mystic and poet wrote Songs of Innocence (1789): a poetry collection written from the child’s point of view.





The Lamb


Little lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?



Songs of Experience (1794) contains many poems in response to ones from Innocence, suggesting ironic contrasts as the child matures and learns of such concepts as fear, envy, and greed.





The Tyger


And what shoulder, and what 
art,
Could twist the sinews of thy 

heart?
And when thy heart began to 

beat,
What dread hand? and what 

dread feet?


What the hammer? what the 
chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread 
grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down 
their spears,
And watered heaven with their 
tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?


     Later editions would see Innocence and Experience contained in one volume.
     Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience juxtapose the innocent, idyllic world of childhood against an adult world of corruption and repression. Such poems as "The Lamb" represent a meek virtue, poems like "The Tyger" exhibit opposing, more sinister forces. Thus the collection as a whole explores the value and limitations of two different perspectives on the world. Many of the poems fall into pairs, so that the same situation or problem is seen through the lens of childlike innocence first and then experience. 
     Blake doesn't seem to identify himself completely with either view. Most of the poems are dramatic; they are delivered in the voice of a speaker other than the poet himself. Blake stands outside innocence and experience, in a distant position from which he hopes to be able to recognize and correct the fallacies of both. He pits himself against despotic authority, restrictive morality, sexual repression, and institutionalized religion; his great insight is into the way these separate modes of control work together to stifle what is most divine in humanity.


3 comments:

  1. Pleasure and knowledge touched my mind here.

    Hi Joseph,nice to meet you.

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  2. Thanks for sharing the William Blake poetry.

    Monti
    Mary Montague Sikes

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  3. Thank you for visiting here, and nice to meet you as well.

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