TITLE & AUTHOR: Songs of Innocence and of Experience by William Blake
PUBLISHER: Oxford University Press
RELEASE DATE: 15 October 1970 (first published 1794)
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
Blake was one of the finest craftsmen of his time, an artist for whom art and poetry were inextricably linked. He was an independent and rebellious thinker, who abhorred pretension and falsity in others. His “Songs of Innocence” are products of this innocent imagination untainted by worldliness, while the “Songs of Experience” resulted from his feelings of indignation and pity for the suffering of mankind.
The “Songs of Innocence and of Experience,” containing some of Blake’s finest and best-loved poems, are present here in the form which satisfied the high expectations of his poetic and artistic aspirations. The fifty-four plates which Blake originally etched and coloured by hand, are faithfully reproduced with the same delicacy and dimensions as the artist created them.
From The Shepherd
How sweet is the Shepherds sweet lot
From the morn to the evening he strays
He shall follow his sheep all the day
And his tongue shall be filled with praise…
WHAT I THOUGHT
There’s something I really like about Blake’s work, despite his frequent religious overtones. Most of the poems in this collection use simple language and powerful imagery to convey the light and dark traits of being human. I’m more drawn to the darker poems of course. My favourite poems include The Divine Image, The Sick Rose, The Tyger, The Human Abstract and Infant Sorrow. Blake’s poems touch a deeply hidden part of me that few other poets do. I also have his complete poems to read at some point. This collection contains full colour illustrations, copies of Blake’s original paintings. These are impressive. I’d recommend Songs of Innocence and Experience for anyone looking for poetry on a deeper, more emotional level.