Earth's Answer (Experience)
- 5, 5 Line stanzas - ABAAB Rhyme scheme
- Earth appealing- Read in conjunction to the Introduction
- Earth personified. 'Earth raised up her head'
- Bitter reply to previous poem
- 'Stony dread' - Reference to Medusa?
- 'Prisoned' - Bondage/Slavery
- Full of misery and dread - cynical lexis
- 'Ancient men' - Gods? Druids? Sould trapped in physical world
- Stanza 3 - Slight change in structure
- 'night' becomes symbol of misery
- Repressive. Old Testament God
- Stanza 4 - Don't hide your Joy because nature doesn't. 'Blossoms grow' - life starts again. Should we have these restrictions?
- Stanza 5 - Restrictions on our life. After French Revolution
- 'Man is born free but is forever in chains' - Rousseau
- 'You have a world to win and nothing to lose but your chains' - Marx - The Communist Manifesto 1835
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Holy Thursday (Experience)
- 4 Stanzas, shorter lines
- Theme - Poverty and Religion
- Alternate rhymes
- Against established church
- Cannot believe there is so much poverty (still relevant today)
- 'Usurous hand?' - Charity done begrudgingly. Social injustice
- 2nd stanza - bitter view of charity
- Suffering and poem about class
- 'Barbarism or socialism' - Rosa Luxemburg
- Anaphora - 3rd stanza all start with 'And'
- 'Thorns' - In society the mill owners? capitalists? but also Jesus' crown of thorns = symbol of suffering
- Selfish society
- Final stanza Blake criticises the system
- 'Nor poverty the mind appal' - Shock OR pall bearers who carry the coffins = death due to poverty in society at the time
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Nurse's Song (Experience)
- Bitter parody of Innocence version
- Much shorter
- Not the nurturing, kind-hearted nurse we see before
- Starts the same
- 2 Stanzas
- 'Whisperings' - Secretive, no laughter, repressed children. 'Seen and not heard'.
- No voices of children
- Thinks back to her youth in a bitter way
- 'green' - colour of jealousy
- Same opening of 2nd stanza
- 'Spring' - youth?
- 'Winter' - Age?
- Children did as they were told
- Freedom repressed.
- Cycle of repression
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The Chimney-Sweeper (Experience)
- Much shorter
- 3 Stanzas
- Uneven rhyme scheme = Exposing hypocrasy of organised religion
- 'Little black thing' - dehumanised
- 'Snow' - contrast between black and white.
- Church condoning ill treatment of children
- Parents missing again
- Abandoned for the sake of religion
- 'They clothed me in the clothes of death' - As if someone has died. Winter and death associated
- 'Are gone to praise God and his priest and king' - Trinity of oppression
- 'Who make a heaven of our misery' - Ironic
- We can't be happy - jealous world
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The Angel (Experience)
- 4 Stanzas
- Persona = Young girl who rejects the angel
- 'What can it mean!' - bewilderment and excitement
- 'Maiden' - Virginal young girl
- 'Beguiled' - being charmed or tricked
- 'Heart's delight' - hiding her true feelings and desires
- 'Armed my fear; - judgement
- 'Shields' and 'Spears' = love is like a battle
- 'For the time of youth was fled, and grey hairs were on my head' - Don't miss out on chances.
- Criticising chastity
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The Tiger (Experience)
- 6 Quatrains
- Trochaic and tetrameter. Rhyming couplets
- Made up of unanswered questions. Questioning God?
- 'Fire' - Link to blacksmith. God is the divine blacksmith stanza 2
- 'Wings dare he aspire?' - link to story of Icarus
- Stanza 4 - Time of industrial revolution. 'What the hammer? what the chain?' - Chains for slave trade being made and weapons for french revolution.
- Metre reflects rhythm of forge and furnace of blacksmith working
- 'Dare its deadly terrors clasp?' - Children under the machines? Voiced plosives 'd'
- 'Threw down their spears' - Fall of man in Genesis
- 'Did he smile his work to see?' - Is God smug?
- 'Did he who made the lamb make me?' - Smiliar to the poem 'The Lamb'
- Tiger - Industrialisation
- Ends the safe like a refrain but the verb changes now 'dare' not 'could'.
- Human and divine creation
- "Never is he (Blake) more heretical that in the Tiger" - Alfred Kazin
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My Pretty Rose Tree (Experience)
- Rose = The woman he loves?
- Extra marital affair
- 'Ive a pretty rose tree' - beauty and pain in the rose
- Satarising woman's reaction and jealousy.
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Ah! Sunflower (Experience)
- 2 Quatrains ABAB
- 'Weary of time' = Dying?
- 'Steps of the sun' = Growing towards the sun
- 'Where the traveller's journey is done;' - Compared with a traveller
- Traveller looking for answer. Is their destination heaven?
- 'Virgin' - 'The Angel'?
- 'Where the youth pined away with desire' - Don't waste opportunities
- 'Shroud' - What you wear when you're dead
- We are condemned to death
- Only be free when we're dead
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The Lily (Experience)
- 1 Quatrain
- Rhyming couplets
- Lily sometimes a symbol of death or of purity
- Juxtaposing innocent with experience
- Contrary state
- Nothing dangerous about the lily unlike the rose
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The Garden of Love (Experience)
- 3 Quatrains
- ABACB rhyme scheme
- Bitter, ironic title
- 'Garden' - Eden-like setting? Natural innocence being confronted
- 'And saw what I never had seen' - State of mind? different set of eyes? OR something built? Epiphany?
- 'Chapel' - Symbol of authority
- Symbol of religion taken the laughter/fun.
- Religion should be open to everyone
- 'Thou shalt not' - Negative prohibition
- Lines lengthened in 3rd and final stanza
- 'Priests' - symbols of repression
- 'Briars' - Like 'Holy Thursday'
- 'Garden of misery'
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The Little Vagabond (Experience)
- 4 Quatrains with long lines - Dissonant effect
- 'Vagabond' - Street Child
- 'Healthy and pleasant and wam' - Church better if more like a pub?. Listing, better than the church
- 'Such usage in Heaven will never do well' - Weighing up each one
- Denial of comfort
- 'Dame Lurch' - What you're like through your name - aptronym
- 'Bandy' - Rickets.Vitamin Deficiency
- 'Birch' - Punishment
- Reconciled with Devil - Fantasy
- Church needs to be kinder and more compassionate
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- Familiar Quatrains and alternate rhymes
- Scenes of contemporary London life - Negative places of capitalism
- 'Wander' - no real aim or purpose
- 1st stanza - what the speaker sees. Horror around him
- 'Thames' - Another icon of London. Transport goods to the empire
- 'Mark' - Verb, Look of poverty. Sign
- 2nd Stanza what he sees. Repetition of 'Cry'
- 'Ban' - Connotations of military summons. Things that are prohibited
- 'Mind-forged manacles' - Made in our minds. Shackles
- Doesnt say much for the British Empire
- 3rd Stanza acrostic of HEAR
- 'Appals' - Pall bearer?
- 'Black'ning' Soot Or minds of church authorities. Morals blackened
- Final stanza - saved the worst thing till last
- 'Midnight' - fear
- 'Youthful' = young girls, prostitutes
- 'Plagues' = STIs. Infects babies and others. 'Marriage hearse' = ironic
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Infant Sorrow (Experience)
- 2 Short stanzas, Opposite to Infant Joy
- No regular metre
- 'Wept' - baby now sees world as a dangerous place
- Blake's metre ensures that verbs like groaned, wept and lept are stressed. Highlights the misery of this new born baby.
- 2nd stanza - metre is now clumsy
- 'Bound' - Also bound literally - bound for rest of life
- Living in a restricted world
- 'Sulk' = Accepted its role in life
- No room for imagination in this poem
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A Little Boy Lost (Experience)
- 6 Quatrains ABCB rhyme scheme
- Allegorical poem
- 1st Stanza - Questioning things - childlike
- Enclosed world
- Church dont want him to think for himself
- 'I love you like the little bird' - Simplistic and natural simile
- Priests' power being questioned
- ''zeal' and 'seized' = angry sounds. Priests aggression
- 'Care' = irony=congregation
- 'little' - Adjective little makes us more emotional
- 'Chain' - restriction meteaphorically boung, literal?
- Rousseau = Born free but boung by chains of society
- 'Albion' - old name used for England
- Ends with a rhetorical question
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A Little Girl Lost (Experience)
- 1 Quatrain, moves to 5 line stanzas, lines longer
- AABBA rhyme scheme
- 'A' = representing any child
- 'Children of the future' = looking forward thinking things would change.
- Fight against restrictions
- No cencorship
- 'Gold' - age of innocence
- 'Naked in the sunny beams delight' - Looking back. Eden - Adam and Eve
- 'Garden' - Garden of Eden
- 'Holy light' - idyllic love
- 'wanderers weep' - freely
- Stanza 6 - Disrupts our expectations
- 'But his loving look, like the holy bool' - Restrictive, Biblical authority
- Inverted syntax
- Final Stanza - censorious ideas
- World where man's word is law
- Through experienced eyes
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