Songs of Innocence and of Experience
William Blake is known for some very mystical hard-to-understand poetry, but his “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience” is very different from his other work. Innocence was printed five years before Experience, but the books complement each other: the first consisting of poems telling of the innocence of the world, and the second tempering these poems with contrasting tales about experience. Here in beautiful, almost child-like simplicity, he describes childhood and purity, as well as the darker realities of corruption and disillusionment.
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William Blake was an English poet, painter, and print maker. Though largely unrecognized during his lifetime, today Blake’s work, produced in partnership with his wife Catherine, is widely known.
Blake was a strong libertarian, with a deep hatred of the tyranny that was rife during his lifetime. This is reflected strongly in his poems ‘Songs of Innocence and of Experience’, where he portrays upper class institutions and the Church of England as corrupt and exploiters of the weak in society. He dreamed of an idyllic England, free from corruption, which is mirrored in “The Echoing Green”. However, the impending tyranny in the poem shows that even he doubted that England would be free.