William Blake's Songs of Innocence

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The Little Boy Found (Innocence)

  • Natural Progression from Little Boy Lost and same form
  • 2 Stanzas
  • 'Wand'ring light' - Will O' the Wisp idea possibly?
  • 'Cry' - Repeated motif
  • 'Like his Father in white' - Figure for a good father. God? or real father? Divine appears in human form.
  •  'And by the hand led'. - Strange, inverted syntax still.
  • 'Pale' and 'dale' - internal rhymes
  • Ideas from Swedenbourg Religion
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The Little Girl Lost (Innocence)

  • 13 Quatrains
  • Theme - Children
  • Regular Rhyme scheme and short, staccato lines
  • 2nd Stanza - 'Maker' - God?. 'Garden Mild' - Before 'the fall' in the garden of Eden
  • 6th Stanza - 'Lost in desert wild' - Lost spiritually? Desert is a Baron place
  • 'If my mother sleep, Lyca shall not weep' - Mood of Lyca and Mother are intertwined and in harmony.
  • 'The Kingly Lion stood' - Anthropomosphism.
  • 'Bosom' - Connotations of sexuality.
  • 'Slender dress' - No need for clothing in a pre-lapsarian world OR something more sinister? (AO3)
  • Contrasting innocent perception of Lyca with that of her parents.
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The Little Girl Found (Innocence)

  • 13 Quatrains
  • Theme - Children
  • Rhyming Couplets
  • Lyca's parents are searching for her
  • Perhaps metaphor for being found spiritually
  • 'Woe' and 'deserts weep' - Miserable lexis. Man and nature are in harmony weeping
  • Parents coming from experienced world
  • 'Seven days' - creation story?
  • First 3 stanzas finish with the desert
  • 'Pale' - Symbol of death?
  • Needs to become exhausted - can use imagination properly
  • Stanza 7-8 = enjambement. Not restrained to traditional poetic form
  • 'A spirit armed in gold' - God/christ? - Taking them to their sleeping child
  • 'Follow me' - Christ like figure. Bible reference
  • Joined a more natural world
  • Christian Reconciliation
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The Lamb (Innocence)

  • Refrain on indented lines
  • Theme - Religion
  • Directed at children - didacted=purpose of educating
  • Series of Questions in 1st stanza
  • 'By the stream; - Rural and pastoral - Romanticism
  • Full of Religion and spirituality
  • 'Lamb of God' -John
  • 'Dost Thou' - Formal and Biblical effect
  • Gentle like bleating of a lamb
  • 2nd Stanza - Answer 'Meek and Mild' - Prayer like
  • 'He became a little child' - Jesus. Swedenbourg
  • Link between children and Jesus
  • Typical religious imagery - Pastoral
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Infant Joy (Innocence)

  • 2, 6 line stanzas
  • Theme - Children
  • Simplistic structure
  • Baby given voice in first line
  • Context - Babies baptised quickly incase they died
  • Probably Mother's voice next - Equal relationship in poem
  • 'Joy' - New baby brings happiness
  • 'Sweet Joy befall thee' - Like a prayer or blessing? More pessimistic view? - Some fall in life
  • Repetition of 'Joy' - Unquestionable innocence
  • Soon as they have a name = Process of restraint
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The Shepherd (Innocence)

  • 2 Stanzas
  • Theme - Religion
  • Simple
  • 'The Lord is my Shepherd'
  • ABCB rhyme scheme
  • 'Sweet' is repeated
  • Exclamatory to open
  • 'Strays' - From the right path
  • 'Lambs' innocent call' to 'Ewe's tender reply'. - Mother is there within nature
  • 'Children are natural, innate, good characters' - Rousseau
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Spring (Innocence)

  • 3 Stanzas
  • Theme - Nature
  • 3 syllables, 2 stresses. Dimeter
  • Simplistic
  • Unusual form. Short lines - breaking poetic tradition
  • Begins with imperative - 'Sound the flute!'
  • Musical birds
  • Refrain to end stanza - 'merrily, merrily to welcome in the year'.
  • Children in 2nd Stanza.
  • 'Cock does crow, So do you'. -Birds and children linked
  • 'Little lamb' - traditional image
  • Lyrical poem
  • Slight change on final refrain
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The Schoolboy (Innocence)

  • 6 Stanzas
  • 5 line stanzas = awkward, jarring effect
  • Theme - Children
  • Process of education = destructive
  • ABABB Rhyme scheme
  • 'Birds' - Innocent creatures
  • Life without constraint
  • 'Oh!' - Interjection, pessimistic and cynical
  • 'Sighing, dismay, drooping' = same semantic field
  • Comparing education and nature in stanza 3
  • Imprisoned bird in cage - that's what we do to children
  • 5th stanza - compares child with flower
  • Ideas from Rousseau about Children
  • Linking cycle of youth with children's growth
  • Formal education places restriction
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Laughing Song (Innocence)

  • Title - 'Song' = Meant to be given to children.
  • Theme - Children
  • 3 quatrains, long lines
  • 'When' - Conditional througout
  • 'Green hill laughs' - Nature is personified
  • 'Mary, Susan and Emily' - Traditional English names
  • 'Ha, Ha, He' - Innocent youth
  • 'Merry' repeated
  • Very idealistic
  • Typical innocent images of nature etc.
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The Little Black Boy (Innocence)

  • 7 Stanzas
  • Theme - Freedom and Children
  • Spoken by African child
  • Wouldn't see many black people at the time as slavery was not abolished yet.
  • Portraying black and white children as equal? or is it patronising?
  • Blake was aware of differences
  • 'Wild' - Wild place? Africa?
  • 'My soul is white' - To be white is to be good?
  • Black equated with death and lack of light
  • His education comes from Nature. Black boy is getting that natural education that children in Britain don't.
  • Equated with God
  • Earthly life = preperation for more spiritual life - ' And we are put on earth a little space'.
  • Black facr vanish when we learn to accept God's love
  • 'When i from black and he from white cloud free' - Both equal. Neither free until they leave the physical world.
  • Seeking love from white boy? OR love is universal
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The Echoing Green (Innocence)

  • 3 Long 10 line stanzas
  • Theme - Nature and Children
  • Rhyming couplets
  • Contrast to the city
  • 'Merry bells ring' - everything in harmony
  • Idea of innocence
  • Repeats the cycle of the day
  • 'Bird' and 'bush' - alliteration plosives
  • 'our' - common ownership
  • Light. happy rhythm
  • Old and young together = community
  • Old people look back nostalgically
  • Beginning of day and life
  • Last stanza = inevitability of change 'end'
  • 'Darkening green' - Night is coming OR idea of village life under threat. Innocence eroded
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Nurse's Song (Innocence)

  • 4 Quatrains
  • Happy, light rhythm
  • Theme - Children
  • 1st stanza - happiness, peaceful and tranquil
  • Nurse knows the children are safe and secure
  • We hear the voice of the nurse
  • 3rd stanza - Children's voice.
  • Children are like part of nature
  • 'Little birds' and 'sheep' = symbols of innocence
  • Doesn't restrict them
  • Children get their own way - 'well, well go and play till the light fades away'. - Idealistic
  • Nature is happy when children are happy
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Holy Thursday (Innocence)

  • 3 stanzas
  • Theme - Religion
  • Long lines to reflect long lines of students?
  • About a charity school celebration
  • Ambiguity - Even most innocent of ceremonies have nother side to them
  • Rhyming couplets
  • 'clean' - Narrator is praising children
  • 'red and blue' - Colour imagery - uniforms
  • 'Beadles' - People who run it
  • 'wands' - symbol of their office
  • 'Snow' = Purity
  • Seen as either optimistic or pessimistic
  • Regimented
  • 'Lambs' - Symbol of innocence but also sacrifice
  • 'Thousands of little boys and girls' - Idea of feeding the 5000
  • Biblical
  • 'Beneath them' - Physically in the church OR morally. Read ironically
  • Didactic sense
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The Chimney-Sweeper (Innocence)

  • 6 Quatrains
  • Rhyming couplets
  • Disturbing poem for innocence
  • Older perspective
  • Ironic that it begins with death in an innocent poem - 'When my mother died'.
  • 'Father sold me' - suggests slavery
  • 'weep' - reoccuring them in poems. monotomy of life
  • Child compared with Lamb. Innocence
  • Soot spoiling white hair = purity being stained?
  • 'A-sleeping' - more childlike phrasing - simplistic
  • Premature deaths
  • 'Coffins of black' - Constriction of chimneys OR the dead bodies in coffins.
  • Repression of workers
  • 'Angel' - religious reference. Benevolent angel
  • 'set them all free.' - They've died?
  • Stanza 5 becomes more disturbing - Religion mean of repressing us (marxist view)
  • This life only preperation for next
  • 'And the angel told tom if he'd be a good boy'. Angel puts conditions on it, repression? 'If'
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A Cradle Song (Innocence)

  • 8 Quatrains
  • Theme - Childhood
  • Speaker is watching the baby
  • 'Shade' - Protection
  • Swedenbourg - see the divine in human face
  • Some repeated sounds - 'beams' and 'streams'
  • 'Sweet' - Sibilence
  • Dreaming - passive use of imagination
  • 'Dove' - symbol of innocence and peace
  • Stanza 5 tense changes
  • Stanza 6 - more religious. Swedenbourg = face of god in baby
  • 'Wept for me' - God wept for human kind
  • Blake hoping child can see Jesus and be comforted
  • Final line - 'peace beguiles' - Reconciled
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The Little Boy Lost (Innocence)

  • Short ballad
  • Theme - Children
  • ABCB rhyme scheme
  • Inverted syntax
  • 'Father, father'. - God? Plainted voice of child
  • Child has a voice
  • Uncommunicative father
  • 'dark' - frightening, problematic
  • Tone changes
  • 'Dew' - tears?
  • No protector
  • 'Vapour flew' - Will O' the Wisp / Marsh gas
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The Clod and the Pebble (Experience)

  • 3 Quatrains
  • Contrasts soft and hard - contrary states
  • Love will always look for optimism
  • Optimistic view - maybe Blake's view. Selfless love
  • 2nd stanza - 'b' sounds = plosives
  • Pebble cant change
  • Love is selfish and jealous
  • Final stanza
  • some ideas being inverted
  • Left with dominant, negative view point
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