Anyone may learn to know and love William Blake. Small steps include reading, asking questions, making comments about posts made here (or anywhere else for that matter). We are ordinary people interested in Blake and anxious to meet and converse with any others. Tip: The primary text for Blake is on line. The url is Contents.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Songs of Innocence and Experience, Nurse's Song (E 15)

"When the voices of children are heard on the green
And laughing is heard on the hill,
My heart is at rest within my breast
And every thing else is still

Then come home my children, the sun is gone down
And the dews of night arise
Come come leave off play, and let us away
Till the morning appears in the skies

No no let us play, for it is yet day
And we cannot go to sleep
Besides in the sky, the little birds fly
And the hills are all coverd with sheep

Well well go & play till the light fades away
And then go home to bed
The little ones leaped & shouted & laugh'd
And all the hills ecchoed"

Here is a simple poem about playing children. But there is more than that. It is about the life of the imagination which to Blake is not a state but existence itself. We get a clue in the first verse: 'My heart is at rest within my breast, And every thing else is still.' This is the moment Blake speaks about in Milton:

PLATE 29 [31] (E 127)
For in this Period the Poets Work is Done: and all the Great
Events of Time start forth & are concievd in such a Period
Within a Moment: a Pulsation of the Artery.

Blake calls the Human Imagination the 'Divine Vision & Fruition In which Man liveth eternally.'

Imagination in children needs to recognized and cultivated, allowed expression in play and dreaming and creating. But the imagination is not outgrown. We shouldn't put our imaginations to sleep when we put away childish things. The world may try to take away our playfulness and creativity but we don't have to let it.

"Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity."

Jerusalem, Plate 77 (E 231)

"I know of no other
Christianity and of no other Gospel than the liberty both of body
& mind to exercise the Divine Arts of Imagination.
Imagination the real & eternal World of which this Vegetable
Universe is but a faint shadow & in which we shall live in our
Eternal or Imaginative Bodies, when these Vegetable Mortal Bodies
are no more."

1 comment:

  1. "There is a Moment in each Day that Satan cannot find
    Nor can his Watch Fiends find it, but the Industrious find
    This Moment & it multiply. & when it once is found
    It renovates every Moment of the Day if rightly placed[.]
    Milton, 35.42; E136.