William Blake was an English poet, printmaker, and painter who was born in 1757 and died in 1827. In 1789, Blake published Songs of Innocence, a collection of 19 poems, and in 1793, he published Songs of Experience, a collection of 28 poems. A combined edition entitled Songs of Innocence and Experience Showing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul appeared in 1794. This SparkNotes Study Guide examines 10 of the most studied of these poems. For the text of all 47 of the poems in the collection, click here or on “Full Text” on this page.

Deeper Study

Enhance your understanding of Songs of Innocence and Experience by reading background on William Blake as well as mini essays about Blake as a social critic and the importance of Blake’s engravings to his poems.