Outline the central themes presented by Blake in his opening poems for songs of ‘Innocence’ and ‘Experience’.
In the opening poems of songs of ‘Innocence’ and ‘Experience’, Blake presents several themes that reflect the ideas central to the Romantic movement.
In the first poems of ‘songs of Innocence’, many aspects can be found that emphasize the state of Innocence, in all its forms and meanings. In ‘Introduction’ the central theme of childhood is highlighted. This is an extremely central theme as it directly relates to Innocence due to their typical combination; Innocence being a condition essentially allied with childhood, a condition in which we can view the natural and human world without fear.
“On a cloud I saw a child”. The way this child is described to be upon a cloud gives the impression that it is retained from the world, high up and away from the ground and therefore away from sin and all the temptations of the world that could lead it to sin. This emphasizes the child’s purity, stressing that because it is apart from the earth it has not been tainted by it, therefore it is innocent.
Moreover, the image of a child sitting on a cloud links to holy images such as heaven and angles. Such divine imagery highlights innocence through the creation of a notion of a young child that is close to God and heaven, representing all that’s good and pure in the world.
The honesty and purity of childhood is also mirrored in the way the poem is written. “Pipe a song about a lamb”, says the child to the present narrator. The poem does sound very much like song due to its jaunty rhythms and simple rhyme schemes. Also, the poem sounds simplistic with its use of simple language sounding like the diction of a child. The considerable use of repetition of words like ‘pipe, happy, and song’ also make the poem sound child like as it gives it a simple yet honest and content nature, and sounds like the sort of thing a child would read, like a nursery rhyme....