Revisiting William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Expertise

Revisiting William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience

Innocence and expertise are two phrases that we come throughout very often in our lives. A cheerful and cheerful youngster is commonly related to the phrase ‘innocence’. When the identical youngster grows up, begins to know the world and appears at it as an grownup, we are saying that he/she has gained ‘expertise’ and worldly data. Nonetheless, the identical two phrases usually create a battle amongst us and result in numerous questions: Is a baby at all times harmless? Is it essential to lose innocence within the course of of achieving expertise? Does expertise imply no hint of innocence in any respect?

The talked about questions have been conveyed and tried to be answered by William Blake in his ‘Songs of Innocence and of Expertise’, printed in 1789. A seminal determine within the historical past of the poetry and visible arts of the Romantic Age, Blake is taken into account one of many best artists Britain has ever produced. The Romantic Age, of which Blake was an integral determine, was partly a response to the Industrial Revolution. Based on the Romantics, the fast industrialization was turning the whole lot mechanical and taking on feelings and aesthetic expertise. This result in a society that was corrupt, money-minded, and egocentric.

In his ‘Songs of Innocence and of Expertise’, Blake juxtaposes the harmless, pastoral world of childhood in opposition to an grownup world of corruption and repression. In a manner, childhood could possibly be equated with life earlier than industrialization and the grownup world with its aftermaths. Most of the poems fall into pairs in order that the identical state of affairs or downside is seen by the lens of innocence first after which expertise. Additionally, they stand in opposition to despotic authority, restrictive morality, sexual repression, and institutionalized faith.


‘Songs of Innocence’ is just not solely a group of verses for kids. A number of of the poems embrace an ironic tone, and a few, corresponding to ‘The Chimney Sweeper,’ is a criticism of the society Blake lived in. Though they’re clearly supposed as a celebration of kids and of their unadulterated enjoyment of the world round them, the poems in ‘Songs of Innocence’ are additionally a warning to grownup readers. They offer the message that innocence has been misplaced not merely by ageing, however due to the quite a few forces of the society. Among the hottest poems in ‘Songs of Innocence’ embrace ‘The Shepherd’, ‘The Lamb’, ‘The Little Black Boy’ and ‘The Chimney Sweeper’.

The ‘Songs of Expertise’ work by way of parallels and contrasts to lament the methods during which the tough experiences of grownup life destroy what is nice in innocence, whereas additionally expressing the weaknesses of the harmless perspective. The poems enable Blake to be extra direct in his criticism of society. He assaults church leaders, rich socialites, and merciless dad and mom with equal depth. Moreover, in ‘Songs of Expertise’, Blake questions how we all know that God exists, whether or not a God who permits poor youngsters to endure and be exploited is in truth, good, and whether or not love can exist as an summary idea aside from human interplay. ‘The Tyger’, ‘A Little Boy Misplaced’, and ‘London’ are a few of the most learn poems of ‘Songs of Expertise’.

The journey that Blake takes us on is typical of what all of us undergo as we mature, and the fantastical goals of our childhood fail to come back to fruition within the methods we beforehand imagined. The journey takes us from innocence to expertise, and, alongside the way in which, questions its personal earlier conclusions. For the fashionable world, which is stuffed with corruption, greed, selfishness, and corrupt establishments, it acts as a prophecy to avoid wasting ourselves and our future generations.

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