‘Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;
Sing thy songs of happy chear.’
So I sung the same again,
While he wept with joy to hear.
‘Piper, sit thee down and write
In a book that all may read.’
So he vanish’d from my sight
And I pluck’d a hollow reed
And I made a rural pen,
And I stain’d the water clear,
And I wrote my happy songs
Every child may joy to hear.
This is the first poem of Songs of Innocence. All writers’ origin should be such. A word cannot be livened without their intention for writing to someone.
William Blake is a remarkable poet in the Romantic period though he was unknown while living. He was a professional engraver. Through his seventy years lifetime he left myriads of poems; Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience are his noticeable works.
Blake, regarding “experience” as evil, thought that man’s innocent state without it is sacred. Therefore he recognises that God and a human are the same: “Man is All Imagination. God is Man and exists in us and we in him”. Take the following poem in Songs of Innocence.
For Mercy, Pity, Pease, and Love
Is God, our father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Pease, and Love
Is Man, his child and care.
For Mercy has a human heart
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Pease, the human dress.
All the more Blake wouldn’t admit the state of being degraded by experience on the earth. This theme is recurred again and again in other renowned poems: “The Little Girl Lost”, “The Little Girl Found”, “The Tyger”, and otherwise. Take as the last one here a passage which, on behalf of Blake himself, represents his agonised criticism from The Four Zoas.
What is the price of Experience? do men buy it for a song?
Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No, it is bought with the price
Of all that a man hath, his house, his wife, his children.