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Comparing The Contrast Of Blakes Songs English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1174 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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William Blake was born in, London, England on 28 November 1757, he was born to a middle-class family and was the third child of seven children, two of whom died in childhood. William did not go to school, and was educated by his mother at home

William Blake displayed a bright imagination at a young age, which was not looked upon positively during the pre Romantic period. He continued throughout his writing to drastically question faith and politics.

His parents knew enough of his stubborn character. He enthusiastically read on subjects of his own choosing. During this time, Blake was also making explorations into poetry.

On August the fourth 1772, Blake became apprenticed to engraver James Basire, for seven years. At the end of this period, at the age of 21, he was to become a professional engraver

On October the eighth 1779, Blake became a student at the Royal Academy in Old Somerset House, while his study required no payment; he was expected to bring in his own materials during the six-year period.

Blake met John Flaxman in 1782, who was then to become his supporter, and Catherine Boucher, who was later on, to become his wife. Blake’s marriage to Catherine remained close and loyal until his death. She helped him to colour his printed poems while he taught her how to write,

In this assignment I will compare and contrast three of Blake’s poems from the songs of innocence and three poems from the songs of experience, I will comment on the context, themes and Blake’s craftsmanship.

In Blake’s poems many poems fall into pairs Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience they both have opposing perspectives of the world, Most of the time Blake is trying to show us how experience corrupt innocence.

The first two poems I will be comparing is “Infant Joy” and “Infant Sorrow”

Blake wrote the song “The Chimney sweepers song of innocence” and “The chimney sweeper’s song of experience from totally different perspectives

William Blake’s wrote the poem “The Chimney Sweepers” in 1789, the poems tells the story of what happened to many young boys throughout this time. Boys were sold at very young age for the purpose of cleaning chimneys. These children were exploited and lived a very terrible life.

“Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience” both protests the living conditions and the overall treatment of young chimney sweeps

The innocence version of the poem consists of six four line stanzas. The poem starts with a depressing tone telling us from the Childs perspective that before he had even learnt to speak his parents had sold him “My father sold me while yet my tongue could scarcely cry”.

In “the songs of innocence” boys innocence does not allow him to not understand the social injustice and unlike “the experience version” where the boy in the poem sees the unfairness and is able to speak against it.

“The songs of Experience” version consists of three four line stanzas.

The poem starts of with the line “A little Black thing among the snow” this suggests the Boy feels lonely and depressed, the boy also does not have trust in god and feels that he has lost his purpose this shown when he says “Where are thy mother and father, say?

They are both one up to church to pray”

The Boy also Blames his parents for making him do this work, this is shown here “Because I was happy among the heath and smiled against the winters snow, they clothed me in the cloth of death, and taught me to sing the notes of woe” this shows that the boy was joyful until his parents sold him

The “Nurse’s Song” tells a tale of a Nurse who is looking over some children playing in the field. However the ‘experience version” differs form the “innocence version” in the Experience version it is more bitter than the innocence version, it shows a nurse that is jealous of the children and is cruel.

On the other hand the innocence version shows a nurse that does not mind the children playing, it also seems as if she is enjoying watching the children play this I shown at the very first stanza where she says “When Voices of children are heard on the green and the laughter is heard on the hill, My heart is at rest within my breast and everything else is still.

Whereas in the Experience version in the first stanza the nurse says that “When voices of children are heard on the green and whips’ rings are in the dale, my face turns green and pale” this could suggest that the nurse is an old nurse with a lot of experience from life.

In the last stanza the nurse says “Your spring and your day are wasted in play, and your winter and night in disguise” this shows that the nurse is weighed down by life’s experience.

In the experience version we do not see a lot of colors, unlike the innocence version where Blake paints a children’s drawing in the readers mind.

He also uses very smooth language for example instead of saying “the sun goes down” it is said “till the light fades away”

In the Poem “Infant joy” songs of innocence Blake s showing us a two day old child that is happy to arrive to the world. Blake creates a lot of joyful

Images in the readers mind,

He does that by only adding positive language in his poem, for example the word “joy” is repeated seven times in the poem. The language that Blake uses when the child talks is also uncomplicated and simple, the poem has two stanzas and is a bit rambling we also see that the mother witch has experience is positively reflecting on the two day old who represents innocence

On the other hand “Infant sorrow” from the songs of experience the child feels he is unwanted and that he doesn’t belong to this world we learn that when in the first stanza when he says “My mother groaned and my father wept”

We also learn the child is struggling “Struggling in my fathers hands striving against my swaddling bands, the child also feels discarded this is shown when he say “bound and weary I thought best to sulk upon my mothers breast.

“Helpless, naked piping loud” this could suggest that Blake is talking about the industrial revolution and that the world is becoming to dangerous for next generations, in the second line the child also says “Into the dangerous world I leapt”

In all of Blake’s poems he tries to tell us that everyone was born innocent and that life’s experience that forced the us into something good or bad and that life’s experience took away the innocence of youth. Most of his poems illustrate that belief


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