William Blake: Songs of Innocence and of Experience

Songs of Innocence and of Experience

The Poems

Songs of Innocence

The Lamb

  • Compare to "The Tyger"
  • The Lamb is compared to the Agnus dei (Lamb of God, or Christ)
  • Child and Lamb are equated
  • The question "who made thee?" is echoed in "The Tyger".


The Little Black Boy

  • Dichotomies: Black and white // good and bad // soul and body
  • What is Blake's attitude toward the boy? his mother?


Holy Thursday

"The poem describes the annual service of thanksgiving held at St. Pauls in the 1780s and 1790s for Charity School children, where the children gave thanks for the charity they receive throughout the year."*
  • Note the words used to describe the children.
  • What is Blake's attitude toward the children and the adults?



The Chimney Sweeper

  • who is the speaker? who is his audience?
  • black/white words
  • what is the role of the angel?
  • what is Blake's attitude toward the child and the angel?

Songs of Experience

A Poison Tree

  • Why does Blake choose a tree for this metaphor?
  • Why does the foe not realize the tree is poisonous?
  • What, if anything, is the "moral" of the story?


The Tyger

  • what is the question? is there more than one?
  • what does asking the question imply about the speaker?
  • what is the answer to the question?
  • note the color imagery.


The Sick Rose

  • what are the symbols in this poem?



  • note repeated words.
  • what types of people does the narrator observe?
  • how does he feel about these people?


The Chimney Sweeper

  • compare to "The Chimney Sweeper" from Songs of Innocence. what words and images are repeated? what is different?
  • who or what is critiqued in this poem? how?
  • why do you suppose Blake let the children speak in both of the chimney sweeper poems?



The William Blake Archive

*note 1