Introduction to Songs of Innocence
The narrator is a piper who sees a child on a cloud. The child tells him to pipe a song about a lamb, and the child weeps on hearing it.He then asks the piper to sing, and the child cries with joy when he hears it.The child then tells the narrator to write a book and disappears. The piper takes a reed to make a pen. With it he writes happy songs for children to bring them joy.
This poemsets the tone for the entire sequence. It establishes the poet as a visionary who is divinely inspired. It also establishes the voice of the poems as being that of a child and/or accessible to children.
Introduction also reflects the process of poetic composition. It moves from free music, allied with divine inspiration, to songs with words, which are then written down with a pen for others to read in a book. What was formless has become an artistic