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William Blake Songs of Innocence

In this short essay I would like to show how I understand the poems of William Blake. I will write about the poems The Tyger, The Lamb, The Chimney Sweeper and London. I will go from one stanza to another trying to show what Blake wanted to say.
The poem The Tyger, as already the title shows, is about an animal called tyger. In the beginning Blake describes the animal’s fur: „Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright, In the forests of the night.“ In the second and third verse he is wondering who could create such a fearful animal. According to the next verses we can meet the tyger in the deeps of the forests or high in the mountains. Blake is talking about the power of the creator, who could create such strong animal. He is comparing the creation of the tyger to the work of a blacksmith with an anvil and furnace. Then Blake is showing the difference between a strong tyger and a week lamb and he is asking if the creator could make so big contrast in his creation. If it is one person who made both: „Did he who made the lamb make thee?“ At the end of the poem he repeats the first, the second and the third verse of the beginning. But he changes the fourth verse to express the respect to so strong and clever person, who created the tyger.
The Lamb is another Blake’s poem from the Songs of Innocence. Likewise as in The Tyger, Blake is again asking who is the creator of the lamb, if the lamb knows it. Then, in next six verses, he is describing the lamb. But not only to describe the lamb, but as an indirect describtion of the creator as well. Before the second stanza he repeats the question from the beginning. We could say that the second part of the poem is an answer to the question in the first part („Little Lamb who made thee? Little Lamb I’ll tell thee!“) Blake writes about the creator of the lamb. He is called by the same name as the lamb. We know that it’s Jesus Christ who called himself a Lamb. So Blake is telling us that God is the creator of the lamb. Then he describes Him. According to the poem He is meek and mild, became a child.. At the end is very nice verse with wish of blessing: „Little lamb, God bless thee!“
There are two poems named The Chimney Sweeper. Let us see the difference between them. The first of them starts sadly. It is about a boy whose mother died when he was very young. So he had to do the work of the chimney sweeper. There was a boy called Tom Dacre with nice cruled white hair. He was shaved and cried.

Suddenly somebody tells him not to cry. In the night he had a dream. Blake describes with this dream the hard work of the boys who has to work as chimney sweepers. An angel came and set the boys free so they could wash themselves and play. The angel said to Tom, that if he will be a good boy God will be his father, and will never let him suffer. And so Tom was happy when he awoke. This poem ends with hope and optimism: „So if all do their duty, they need not to fear harm.“
The second poem The Chimney Sweeper ends more sad. Somebody is asking where the parents of a „chimneyboy“ are. The answer is: „They are gone up to the church to pray.“, what probably means they are dead. So this boy had to work hard. He blames God for his hard life. The poem ends very sadly: „Who make up a heaven of our misery. Blake shows two ways how we can deal with the problems in our life. We can blame others or God for the hardness of the life, but it will not make it easier. Or we can accept the life as it is also with the hard things in it. And this can make our life a bit easier.
The last poem is called London. This poem doesn’t describe London as very nice city. Blake is showing the dark side of London (chartered street, chartered Thames, marks of weakness, hapless Soldier’s sight...) London, according to this poem, seem to be a dirty and damned town, full of sadness, diseases, stinking air.. It is not a city you would like to visit. I don’t know why is London described this way in this poem. Maybe it is the image of the London in the time of William Blake.
In this essay I tried to describe how I see and understand some poems of William Balake. Maybe I’m not right in every detail of my understanding. Blake might disagree with my opinion. But I thing we can’t catch the thinking and meaning of some author absolutely. We can only come close to it. And that’s what I wanted to do with this short essay.

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