Joy & Sorrow

A review of William Blake’s poems ‘Infant Joy’ and ‘Infant Sorrow’ with emphasis on historical perspective.

This paper compares and contrasts two poems from William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience” collections: ‘Infant Joy’ and ‘Infant Sorrow’. In one poem a child is nourished and loved and in the other the child is leaping into a ?dangerous world?. It discusses the differences in style, language and poetic pattern between the two poems and compares their themes to events known to have occurred in Blake’s lifetime.
An interesting concept is that in the poems there is a reference to the part of Songs they are printed in. In Infant Joy the narrator sings to the child, a song of innocence, in Infant Sorrow the mother groaned and the father wept, a song of experience. Even though some might deny that groaning or weeping are songs, they could be viewed in such a way, they are songs of realism, songs of pain, songs of experience. Thus even within these poems there is a referring to the part they are printed in, Songs of Innocence or Songs of Experience.

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