William Blake


The ecchoing green

  • " the sun does arise and make happy the skies" positive images
  • "such such were the joys" nostalgia
  • "the sun does descend and our sports have an end"
  • "on the darkening green" darker message, loss of traditions, the looming industrial revolution.
  • "they laugh at our play" mocking of children from 'experienced' adults.
  • "sport no more seen" loss of tradition, hints at misery brought with the industrial revolution.
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A dream

  • "my angel-guarded bed" imagery
  • "over many a tangle spray" Difficulty of journey
  • "what wailing wight calls the watchmen of the night?" alliteration
  • "I am set to light the ground as the beetle does his round"
  • rooting for the underdog
  • promoting christian message of helping others
  • glow-worn is rich and ant is poor
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Nurse's song (innocence)

  • "heard on the hill"  phonologically sounds like 'herd' pastoral ideas.
  • "come come leave off play"
  • "no no let us play"
  • "the hills are covered with sheep"
  • "well well go and play"
  • "the little ones leaped and shouted and laugh'd"
  • "all the hills ecchoed"
  • nature is at one with mankind
  • nurse is kind, finds joy in the children's play "my heart is as rest within my breast"
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Nurse's song (experience)

  • "whisprings are in the dale" contrast of language to innocence, whispering has connotations of secrecy.
  • " my face turns green and pale" negative use of green, jealousy of the children. Pale has connotations of ill health.
  • "the sun has gone down" threat
  • "your spring and your day are wasted in play" direct adresses children, threatening.
  • "winter and night in disguise" trickery, nature hides doom brought with winter and night.
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Songs of innocence: introduction

  • Simple lexical choices
  • Easy to understand
  • "piping songs of pleasant glee"
  • "he wept with joy to hear"
  • "i made a rural pen, and i stained the water clear"
  • Dark undertones
  • Pre-lapsarian eden
  • Looming spoiling of the natural world that comes with the industrial revolution + hints at ruining of innocence
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Infant Joy

  • Simple song like structure, like a song and like life for a baby.
  • "Joy is my name" capitalised, shows the baby is the essence of joy.
  • "sweet joy befall thee!" exclamative shows mother's love for the child.
  • "thou dost smile" all the baby's needs are being met.
  • "I sing the while" shows joy is only temporary, forshadowing.
  • Unpredictable rhyme scheme, like the childs unpredictable life?
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Infant Sorrow

  • "my father wept" mother died/baby not welcome/metaphor for God.
  • "helpless" harsh S sound, hints at neglect.
  • "like a fiend hid in a cloud" devil/ evil connotations.
  • "struggling in my fathers hands" God, loosing touch with faith. Harsh S sound.
  • "striving against my swaddling bands" life is restricting. Harsh S Sound.
  • "bound and weary" children are bound to the church from birth.
  • Predictable rhyming couplet rhyme scheme, life is predictabally going to remain miserable.
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The chimney sweeper (innocence)

  • "weep weep weep weep"  repeated ee vowel sound, like a lamb bleating.
  • "lock'd up in coffins of black" metaphor for chimneys and how many would die in them.
  • "wash in a river and shine in the sun" freedom, however forshadows fate of death as the water will be stained black. Irreversible loss of innocence.
  • "they rise upon clouds" imagery of descending into heaven, longing for death?
  • "an angel who had a bright key" Ironic, represents hypocrasy. Being set free would mean they die on the streets. Angel symbolises people.
  • "if all do their duty, they need not fear harm" children are taught their circumstance is test from God, fear hell at such a young age. Blake would not be happy with this.
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The chimney sweeper (experience)

  • "a little black thing amoung the snow" Dehumanising the children, contrast of black and white= innocence/experience.
  • "they are both gone up to the church to pray" 'up' has connotations of death- buried at the church?
  • "i was happy amoung the heath, and smiled amoung the winters snow" voice of chimney sweeper, happiness seen as negative, sinful.
  • "they clothed me in the clothes of death" child is born to die.
  • "they think they have done me no injury" 'they' is Blakes attack on the church. Think because child is playing that they are happy.
  • "gone to praise God and his priest and king" triplet is like the trinity, but spirit is being replaced with 'priest'. Preists are falsely being treated like they are God-like.
  • "who make up heaven of our misery" contrast of heaven and misery. Factory owners make a fortune from employing children, money is their 'heaven'. Meanwhile the orphans are miserable. Idea of heaven isn't for the poor.
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