Blake and Volpone analysis for comparison or individual study

Analsysis, contextual information and critical approaches for both Jonson and Volpone individually as well as a detailed comparison 

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Blake and Volpone Revision
Blake ­ Songs of Innocence and Experience: language/form/structure
Introduction (innocence)
ABAB ­ Regular rhyme scheme. Ballad form - the poem is itself a song like the ones described
within it. Reinforced by the use of repetition and imperatives from the child that tell the piper
what to do. This suggests that the child represents the spirit of poetic inspiration which is
here associated both with innocence and with the idea of the sheep and the shepherd
`I' ­ Blake as narrator
Blake was an instinctive musician, who often sang tunes to his poems
`Lamb' is introduced as a symbol of innocence that will be used throughout the collection.
Potential for religious connotations to (lamb of God)
`He wept to hear' ­ sombre note to the otherwise joyful song ­ innocence is
`I stained the water clear' ­ tainted innocence/referral to the water colours used in his
The piper is also shown in the frontispiece to Songs of Innocence as a shepherd with his
sheep. He is shown naked, a symbol of his innocence, and there are connotations of Jesus as
the lamb, the good shepherd and the child who was god-made-man. Both the frontispiece
and the engraved plate of the poem show the entwined trees of earthly love
The poem's semantic field (linguistic meaning/choices/symbolism) contains many words that
show the nature of the songs ­ `pleasant glee', `laughing', `merry cheer', `happy pipe', `wept
with joy'.
A Dream
ABAB rhyme scheme
`emmet', `glow-worm', `beetles' ­ humble creatures
The glow-worm is `set to light the ground' ­ Christian image, light of the world ­ Jesus sent to
guide those who are morally and spiritually lost
Themes of being lost and found and empathy and guardianship
The Little Girl Lost
ABAB rhyme scheme
13 stanzas ­ uneven
The voice of the prophet/bard sees a future time when the earth `Shall arise and seek/ For
her maker meek: And the desert wild / Become a garden mild'. Indication that Blake is
writing about a symbolic future when the material world (the desert) will become a spiritual
one (the garden) as the human race is reunited with God.
`Maker meek' ­ God the creator.
`Lovely Lyca' represents the human soul.
Lyca is found sleeping in the world of experience (`lost in the desert wild') but is taken by the
lion (potentially a symbol of wisdom), he `loosed her slender dress' (the clothing that is
appropriate in the world of experience) and carries her, in the state of nakedness which is
often used by Blake to depict innocence, to his cave.
`let the moon arise' ­ the moon is Diana, goddess of virgins
The sexual imagery in the poem has been seen as Lyca awakening to sexual desire, but
moving beyond this almost immediately to the new Eden where this knowledge is not
forbidden or shameful

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Seven summers old' ­ the number which connects the new Eden to the creation which is was
said in Genesis, to have taken 7 days.
Repetition of `sleep' and sibilance contribute to the dreamlike quality of the poem
`Loosed her slender dress' ­ removal of the physical so the soul can rest in peace?
The Little Girl Found
13 stanzas ­ links it to the preceding poem
`Moan', `shriek' and `sore' are harsh words that complete the rhyme.…read more

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The first stanza is full of images of nature ­ `by the stream', `o'er the mead', `all the vales'
and of happiness ­ `clothing of delight', `softest clothing woolly bright, `tender voice', `vales
In the second stanza where the child answers the question `who made thee?' there is a
movement from the physical to the spiritual as the child talks about Jesus as creator of both
lamb and child
The poem finishes on a short, childlike prayer `little lamb, God bless thee.…read more

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He becomes an infant small. / He becomes a man of woe.' ­ Incarnation. Again focuses on
God in human form to demonstrate his love for us
Seeming naivety creates the atmosphere of childhood innocence appropriate to te season.
Spring is th time for new life and for the emergence of animals who hibernate over winter. A
signal for the coming warmth and light.…read more

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Supported by the engraving which shows a group, not
of carefree children, but of young adults, apparently led by a yung man with a glass of wine
in his hand. All are fully clothed rather than th nudity that Blake often used to establish
The Little Black Boy
Heroic quatrains: stanzas of pentameter lines with ABAB rhyme scheme.…read more

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Blake makes intensive use of sounds in the first stanza to present the happy innocence of
childhood.…read more

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For Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love / Is god our father dear' ­ God IS these virtues
`Man his child and care' ­ capitalisation makes it clear he is talking simultaneously about man
and creation and Jesus as a Man
3rd stanza describes the human form of these virtues ­ Jesus ­ indicating humans can be like
him/possess these virtues
`human heart... human face... human form...…read more

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Changes from present ( `sweet dreams form a shade') to past tense (when he was an infant
`heavenly face' ­ becomes an image of Jesus
Overtly religious references, such as `infant smiles are his own smiles' ­ showing Blake's
equation of innocence with Jesus, the lamb
The Little Boy Lost
ABCB but irregular 1st stanza
Lack of regular rhyme in the first stanza reflects the panic of the boy
`the little boy' ­ not necessarily a literal image/character but rather a metaphor for spiritual…read more

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The connotation of the `ancient trees' may be the tree of life (associated with the cross and
therefore redemption) or the tree of knowledge, which created the need for redemption as
adam and Eve ate of its fruit.
`fallen man' can refer to the biblical fall of adam and Eve or to imprisoned man in his
`mind-forged manacles' unable to break away from the confines of materialism and realise
his true spiritual and imaginative potential.…read more

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It is a land of poverty!' ­ spiritual poverty, as he has already established that it is a `rich and
fruitful land'
`and their' stanza 3- anaphora emphasises bleakness
`And their ways are fill'd with thorns' ­ allusion to Christ's crucifixion? They are a sacrifice for
man's sins?
The illustration
o Bleak landscape ­ the tree has no leaves.…read more



There is a huge amount of relevant information in this pack that could be useful will studying and revising these poems; identifying the important and key points for yourself from this wealth of information would be a good way of using the resource to enhance your own understanding of the poems.


Cheers Metcalf


This has saved my life!!! I had no idea where to begin with revision and then I discover this!! Thank you :-)

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