35 votes

Accented è in Blake's "The little ones leapèd, and shoutèd, and laugh'd / And all the hills echoèd."

The 'èd' verb ending in 19th-century and earlier poems indicates that you are supposed to pronounce the ending -ed as a separate syllable. This is not the spelling Blake used when he originally wrote ...
  • 9,167
8 votes

Why is the robin "sobbing"?

Executive summary: the sparrow is the lover, and the robin is the child [thank you @PeterShor for cutting through the undergrowth]. Which might well invalidate my interpretation below :o) Why a robin? ...
6 votes

Are Songs of Experience and Songs of Innocence actually songs? Or is the word song a metaphor?

There's a substantial body of evidence that the title "Songs of Innocence" points to the fact that the poems were intended to be sung. In the article William Blake and the Music of the Songs, Kevin ...
5 votes

How many of the Songs of Innocence and of Experience come in pairs?

Let's start by listing the titles of all the Songs, and noting that you can read them in full here. I'll now discuss various possible pairings among these poems, but bear in mind that there's no ...
  • 66.2k
5 votes

Why is "The Chimney Sweeper" in Songs of Innocence rather than Songs of Experience?

There are actually two "Chimney Sweeper" poems: one in Innocence and one in Experience. You can see them both in the full text of Songs of Innocence and of Experience, by Ctrl+F'ing for "chimney". ...
  • 66.2k
2 votes

Why are the U2 CDs named after "Songs of Innocence" and "Songs of Experience" by William Blake?

The resemblance is mostly thematic. According to Bono (lead vocalist and primary lyricist of U2), the main thing they took from Blake was the idea of comparing innocence and experience: I try not to ...
  • 66.2k
1 vote

Why weren't Blake's poems published in their original painted form?

This almost certainly has to do with the technology of printing, and the economics of publishing. There are currently many modern editions of Blake's illuminated works, and they contain much detail ...
  • 4,060

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