Blake seems to pass through a state of spiritual crisis in the years when he composed Songs of Experience. He, who was in many ways the healthiest man, wrote in 1793: “I say I shan’t live for five years, and if I live one, it will be a wonder.” We don’t know what exactly had shaken his trust in himself and life. The fact that needs a mention is Blake’s unyielding effort to continue his work as a poet and an artist. Blake’s genius was not discouraging though he was in deep discomfort and distress. Hear the voice of the Bard!
Introduction to Songs of Experience: Analysis
The lucid language in Songs of Innocence is no longer felt. We enter into a world of ambiguity, concern, and confusion. The poetic tone present in the Songs of Experience marks the alteration. The first two lines of the first stanza ascertain the prophetic nature of the Bard. He is beyond Time and thus is blessed with the ability to foresee. His superhuman ears can make out the message of the Holy Words. Highlighting the power of God, who controls the cosmos and revamp light, the Bard encourages Earth to rise.
Turn away no more… The Bard warns Earth for her defiance and suggests the ephemeral night will only be followed by the daybreak.
Who Present, Past, and Future see:
Whose ears have heard
The Holy Word,
That walked among the ancient trees,
Bard: ‘Brad’ means poet; who…sees: the poet is able to see the past, present and the future, and thus he is a prophet or seer; The Holy Word: The words of Jesus Christ; the ancient trees: the trees of the Garden of Eden.
Calling the lapsed soul,
And weeping in the evening dew;
That might control
The starry pole.
And fallen, fallen light renew!
Lapsed: fallen soul; it may also refer to the soul of Adam and Eve; And..dew: God weeps over the lapsed soul; The Starry pole: Refers to the two points on the sky around which the stars revolve.
“O Earth, O Earth, return!
Arise from out the dewy grass;
Night is worn,
And the morn
Rises from the slumberous mass.
Earth: refers to the people on Earth; dewy grass: the dew is considered as an element of material gratification in Blake’s poetry. The Bard calls the inhabitants on Earth to rise above the material concerns; Night is worn: Night, as referred by the Bard, is ephemeral and momentary; slumberous mass: the heaviness of sleep or materialistic.
“Turn away no more:
Why wilt thou turn away?
The starry floor,
The watery shore,
Is given thee till the break of day.”
Turn away no more: The Earth is insensitive to the call of the Bard; the starry floor: The place where the light of the stars falls; The watery shore: refers to the ocean;
Introduction to Songs of Experience:
In ‘Introduction’ to Songs of Innocence, the poet derived inspiration from the angelic child. While, in the ‘Introduction’ to Songs of Experience, the Bard, who is a seer, calls Earth to rise from the deep slumber. But, the Earth is immersed in the dewy grass and is reluctant to the poets call. The poet then assures that “the night” will finally cease to exist as the radiance of the Sun would spread everywhere.
Introduction to Songs of Experience: Character Sketch
The Bard, much like the God, can foresee the future. When Adam and Eve were evicted from the Garden of Eden, Christ wept for them. The Bard or the prophet is compassionate and tries to awaken Earth. Darkness and night have enveloped the Earth. However, the Bard asserts the glory and regaining of the lost splendor upon the harboring of the rays of the Sun. Similar to Christ’s call for the lapsed soul, the Bard calls the doomed Earth.
The poem ‘Introduction’ to Songs of Experience is the first that hammers the smooth sentiments of the “Songs of innocence” and enters into a harder world. At present, the canopy of darkness covers the dewed Earth! However, the hint of the light of innocence can be felt, as the day symbolizes vigor, creativity, and freshness. As of now, Earth is bound in the ugly lessons of experience! She is a soul clattered in darkness.
The Notion of Lapsed Soul:
Man has turned into a lapsed soul from his erstwhile state of happiness, just like Adam and Eve happened to be expelled from the garden of Eden. The state of happiness is only attenuated to the children who enjoy the atmosphere of innocence and bliss.