William Blake Poems

William Blake wrote many poems during his lifetime. He had a set of poems called The Songs of Innocence and also a set called The songs of Experience. This paper is focusing on five poems from the Songs of Innocence, which are: “The Shepherd,” “The Echoing Green,” The Little Black Boy,” “The Blossom,” and “Laughing Song.”
“The Shepherd” is a very short two stanza poem in which Blake tells about a shepherd who stays with his flock morning and night praising them. The second stanza consists of the shepherd hearing the lamb’s innocent call and the ewe’s soft reply. The shepherd watches the lambs in peace and they know that he is not.
“The Echoing Green” is longer than “The Shepherd.” It is a three stanza poem with an AABBCC rhyme scheme. It is about a field or park where there are birds flying and bells ringing. There are young people playing sports, while the old people are sitting under a tree talking about what they used to do on the echoing green in their youth. They stay until the little ones are weary and can no longer be merry. Then the sun goes down and the sports have to end. The sisters and brothers sit on their mothers laps and rest. No more sports are seen on the darkening green.
“The Little Black Boy” is a seven stanza poem with an ABABCDCD rhyme scheme. It is about a black boy who was born in the south. He is black but his sole is white. English children are white as an angel but he is black, as if taken from light. His mother taught him underneath a tree and taught him that God lives by the sun. She said that God gives light and heat to the flowers, trees, beasts, and men so they can receive comfort in the morning and joy in the afternoon. She explains that on earth so that they can learn to love and their black skin is like a cloud. When their souls have learned to bear the heat, the cloud will go away, and they will hear his voice. He will say, “Come out from the grove, my love and care/ and my round golden tent like lambs rejoice” (Blake 19-20). That’s what her mother told her, and so she told her boy the same. The little boy then said that he would hide him from the heat until he can take it, and then lean with joy upon his Father’s knee. Then he will stroke his silver hair and be like him. “…And then he will love me” (Blake 28).
Consisting of a single stanza with twelve lines is “The Blossom.” This poem is about a sparrow and a robin that live in a bush of some kind that has a blossom on it. It is a happy blossom and it hears the robin sobbing. It sees the narrow cradle of the sparrow, which is “swift as an arrow” (Blake 4).
The final poem is “Laughing Song.” It consists of three stanzas and has an AABBCC rhyme scheme. It mentions the green woods laughing with the voice of joy, and the dimpling streams running laughing by. The air laughs with a merry sense of humor, and the green hill laughs with the noise. The meadows laugh with green, and the grasshopper laughs at the scene. The painted birds laugh in the shade. Tables are spread with cherries and nuts. “Come live, and be merry, and join with me, / to sing the sweet chorus of ha, ha he!” (Blake 11-12).
These five poems are all part of the Songs of Innocence. They have themes that are likened to the innocence of children, and most of them include children. The poems are about the good things in life that bring joy and happiness to people, like “The Echoing Green.” People, and especially children, like to romp and play in the grass in summer and that is just a simple poem about that. It is just a collection of innocent (hence the name) things that people, like children do to have fun.

Category: English