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Songs of Innocence and Experience

William Blake

“The Nurse’s Song”

“The Little Black Boy”

“The Tyger”

When the voices of children are heard on the green
And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast
And every thing else is still

Then come home my children, the sun is gone down
And the dews of night arise
Come come leave off play, and let us away
Till the morning appears in the skies

No no let us play, for it is yet day
And we cannot go to sleep
Besides in the sky, the little birds fly
And the hills are all cover’d with sheep

Well well go & play till the light fades away
And then go home to bed
The little ones leaped & shouted & laugh’d
And all the hills ecchoed

Summary

The scene of the poem features a group of children playing outside in the hills, while their nurse listens to them in contentment. As twilight begins to fall, she gently urges them to “leave off play” and retire to the house for the night. They ask to play on till bedtime, for as long as the light lasts. The nurse yields to their pleas, and the children shout and laugh with joy while the hills echo their gladness.

Form

The poem has four quatrains, rhymed ABCB and containing an internal rhyme in the third line of each verse.

Commentary

This is a poem of affinities and correspondences. There is no suggestion of alienation, either between children and adults or between man and nature, and even the dark certainty of nightfall is tempered by the promise of resuming play in the morning. The theme of the poem is the children’s innocent and simple joy. Their happiness persists unabashed and uninhibited, and without shame the children plead for permission to continue in it. The sounds and games of the children harmonize with a busy world of sheep and birds. They think of themselves as part of nature, and cannot bear the thought of abandoning their play while birds and sheep still frolic in the sky and on the hills, for the children share the innocence and unselfconscious spontaneity of these natural creatures. They also approach the world with a cheerful optimism, focusing not on the impending nightfall but on the last drops of daylight that surely can be eked out of the evening.

A similar innocence characterizes the pleasure the adult nurse takes in watching her charges play. Their happiness inspires in her a feeling of peace, and their desire to prolong their own delight is one she readily indulges. She is a kind of angelic, guardian presence who, while standing apart from the children, supports rather than overshadows their innocence. As an adult, she is identified with “everything else” in nature; but while her inner repose does contrast with the children’s exuberant delight, the difference does not constitute an antagonism. Rather, her tranquility resonates with the evening’s natural stillness, and both seem to envelop the carefree children in a tender protection.

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The sick rose

by slowpulsegirl, September 11, 2012

By "rose" W.Blake could also mean his heart,and the worm could be some thoughts he has regarding a lover that is a temptation for him.His love for this person is secret,and he has thoughts about her when he is alone in his bed at night.The fact that from what we see this love is single sided slowly kills the speaker's heart and life.

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19 out of 27 people found this helpful

notation

by naddoushe, February 09, 2013

hi,please can someone help me how to find te figure of speech in the peom amd its metaphores?

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2 out of 6 people found this helpful

Blake

by grmurray, June 13, 2013

An important feature to note reading any poem within Songs of Innocence and Experience is that it allows the marginalized figures of society a voice. A voice in which their story can be told. Innocence would seem to the be the more controlled,ignorant perception of the truth. Whereas Experience breaks down Songs of Innocence and shows the real horror of the situation.

Blake does this brilliantly by the use of contrast and it is when the 'sister poem' in Songs of Experience is read and that voice of the truth comes through - it forces... Read more

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