Songs of Innocence and Experience

William BLAKE (1757 - 1827)

William Blake’s volume of poetry entitled Songs of Innocence and Experience is the embodiment of his belief that innocence and experience were “the two contrary states of the human soul,” and that true innocence was impossible without experience. Songs of Innocence contains poems either written from the perspective of children or written about them. Many of the poems appearing in Songs of Innocence have a counterpart in Songs of Experience, with quite a different perspective of the world.

The disastrous end of the French Revolution caused Blake to lose faith in the goodness of mankind, explaining much of the despair found in Songs of Experience. Blake also believed that children lost their innocence through exploitation and from a religious community which put dogma before mercy. He did not, however, believe that children should be kept from becoming experienced entirely. In truth, he believed that children should indeed become experienced but through their own discoveries, which is reflected in a number of these poems.

(Summary adapted from Wikipedia by Annie Coleman)

Genre(s): Poetry

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 Introduction (Innocence) Annie Coleman Rothenberg
00:01:29
Play 02 Shepherd, The (Innocence) Annie Coleman Rothenberg
00:00:59
Play 03 Echoing Green, The (Innocence) Annie Coleman Rothenberg
00:01:34
Play 04 Lamb, The (Innocence) Annie Coleman Rothenberg
00:01:27
Play 05 Little Black Boy, The (Innocence) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:02:56
Play 06 Blossom, The (Innocence) Chip
00:01:06
Play 07 Chimney-Sweeper, The (Innocence) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:02:43
Play 08 Little Boy Lost, The (Innocence) Marian Brown
00:00:52
Play 09 Little Boy Found, The (Innocence) Marian Brown
00:00:50
Play 10 Laughing Song (Innocence) Marian Brown
00:01:09
Play 11 Cradle Song, A (Innocence) Chip
00:02:18
Play 12 Divine Image, The (Innocence) Chip
00:01:40
Play 13 Holy Thursday (Innocence) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:02:10
Play 14 Night (Innocence) Chip
00:02:52
Play 15 Spring (Innocence) Chip
00:01:22
Play 16 Nurse’s Song (Innocence) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:01:39
Play 17 Infant Joy (Innocence) Chip
00:01:08
Play 18 Dream, A (Innocence) Chip
00:01:37
Play 19 On Another’s Sorrow (Innocence) Chip
00:02:32
Play 20 Introduction (Experience) Chip
00:01:33
Play 21 Earth’s Answer (Experience) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:01:54
Play 22 Clod and the Pebble, The (Experience) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:01:36
Play 23 Holy Thursday (Experience) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:01:54
Play 24 Little Girl Lost, The (Experience) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:03:06
Play 25 Little Girl Found, The (Experience) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:03:06
Play 26 Chimney-Sweeper, The (Experience) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:01:48
Play 27 Nurse’s Song (Experience) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:01:32
Play 28 Sick Rose, The (Experience) Chip
00:00:58
Play 29 Fly, The (Experience) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:01:30
Play 30 Angel, The (Experience) Chip
00:01:38
Play 31 Tiger, The (Experience) Gord Mackenzie
00:02:37
Play 32 My Pretty Rose Tree (Experience) Annie Coleman Rothenberg
00:01:02
Play 33 Ah, Sunflower (Experience) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:01:18
Play 34 Lily, The (Experience) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:01:11
Play 35 Garden of Love, The (Experience) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:01:44
Play 36 Little Vagabond, The (Experience) Chip
00:01:49
Play 37 London (Experience) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:02:02
Play 38 Human Abstract, The (Experience) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:02:26
Play 39 Infant Sorrow (Experience) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:01:27
Play 40 Poison Tree, A (Experience) Denny Sayers (d. 2015)
00:02:03
Play 41 Little Boy Lost, A (Experience) Chip
00:02:03
Play 42 Little Girl Lost, A (Experience) Chip
00:02:14
Play 43 Divine Image, A (Experience) Gord Mackenzie
00:01:00
Play 44 Cradle Song, A (Experience) Annie Coleman Rothenberg
00:01:19
Play 45 Schoolboy, The (Experience) Annie Coleman Rothenberg
00:01:59
Play 46 To Tirzah (Experience) Annie Coleman Rothenberg
00:01:26
Play 47 Voice of the Ancient Bard, The (Experience) Annie Coleman Rothenberg
00:01:16