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Introduction to the Songs of Innocence Analysis

Author: Poetry of William Blake Type: Poetry Views: 2467

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Piping down the valleys wild,

Piping songs of pleasant glee,

On a cloud I saw a child,

And he laughing said to me:

"Pipe a song about a Lamb!"

So I piped with merry cheer.

"Piper, pipe that song again;"

So I piped: he wept to hear.

"Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;

Sing thy songs of happy cheer:!"

So I sang the same again,

While he wept with joy to hear.

"Piper, sit thee down and write

In a book, that all may read."

So he vanish'd from my sight;

And I pluck'd a hollow reed,

And I made a rural pen,

And I stain'd the water clear,

And I wrote my happy songs

Every child may joy to hear.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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There is a cycle evident in the way the child asks the piper to first, play the pipe; second, sing the songs of "merry cheer"; third, write down the songs and how the piper in turn fulfills the child's requests.
The higher position of the child as compared to the piper (child sitting on a cloud while piper walks down a valley) could possibly refer to the cloud and the child as being an 'inspiration' for the piper; the ever changing shape of the cloud signifies how inspiration can come in many forms.
The act of the piper writing down the songs involve everything natural. He uses a "rural pen" made from a "hollow reed" and writes with water. It signifies the virtue of nature and the purity of being one with nature.

| Posted on 2014-12-19 | by a guest

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Blake is showing how the young boy on the cloud is a symbol of an angel and is giving a message to piper from god. This introduction could also be interperted as the young boy is innocence and how it evolves when you grow up.

| Posted on 2014-01-27 | by a guest

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\"And I stain\'d the water clear.\"
Not sure about this - Is he turning dirty to clear water?
Or is he taking water that is clear and staining it, maybe red or black, with his ink?

| Posted on 2013-05-02 | by a guest

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I think what Blake is trying to say the boy on the cloud was an angel giving him a massage from God about giving children a voice. I researched the time period and I found out that around that time in England, children were being treated unfairly because they were poor or something like that.
Another interpretation I have is at first Blake did not know the struggle of children at the time and when that someone taught him those struggles, he thought of that person as an angelic being. After he found out about the cruelty in the world, he sat down to write his ideas about what he felt about child abuse. \"And I stain\'d the water clear,\" probably means that he pured his heart by treating everyone with kindness.

| Posted on 2012-11-07 | by a guest

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child is symbol of God. And Lamb is also a Symbol of God. The child says to pipe a song about a lamp that means piper is Jesus Christ and the God is saying to Jesus Christ to pipe a song about him(God).

| Posted on 2012-09-25 | by a guest

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I was really struck by these lines: \"And I made a rural pen, And I stain\'d the water clear\". The rural pen highlights Blake\'s focus on the virtue found in nature throughout his poetic works. Staining the water clear is a great paradox. Stains are often associated with spills. Blake is saying that he is going to spill kindness into a world that can be cruel to children, purifying the world with his poetry.

| Posted on 2012-01-24 | by a guest

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there are many possible interpretations of this poem. considering the time, there is the shadow of the industrial revolution and the abuse of children. by using rural metaphors, perhaps Blake suggests that only a return to nature with happy children can save society.
another option is that Blake meets his muse and he understands that he must be the voice of those who cannot speak: dead children, the lower classes, the poor, and the dead. while this is still a song filled with pastoral and innocent images, allusion to religion (the Lamb), it also foreshadows later poems such as Tyger Tyger with its cynical allusion to the same.
the ambiguity in the poem, \"stained the water clear\" which may be that writing with the pure water will make for pure words, or indeed, cleaning his ink till all impurities are gone and the water comes up clear. either way, Blake wishes to speak only words of purity and clarity, give joy to children by being their mouthpiece- again the \"songs every child may joy to hear\" goes beyond pretty songs, and includes having an advocate

| Posted on 2010-11-28 | by a guest

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Now the poem is certainly happy and easy in some ways there are no difficults of diction and syntax. T he poem is a dialogue bewteen piper and the child.

| Posted on 2010-03-31 | by a guest

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In many of Blake's poems he has a shadow, being a foreboding sense of loss of innocence to come. In this instance, the shadow is when the piper makes a rural pen and writes his happy songs so that every child may joy to hear. The piper represents experience, and the child on a cloud of course, innocence. This child is eager to hear the experienced piper's tunes and songs, and so his fall of innocence is inevitable.

| Posted on 2008-02-25 | by a guest

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