The Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake


Follow the link for a fascimile reproduction, along with transcribed text, of William Blake’s masterpiece of bookmaking, Songs of Innocence and of Experience. These poems are one of the treasures of world literature, simple enough to resonate with children, but with enough exoteric and esoteric meaning to keep a gnostic sage pondering for several lifetimes. Blake’s vision of a universe alive on all scales of being is luminously represented in the hand-colored illustrations, which contain clues to the overtones of the text. The poems are also firmly rooted in the misery of 18th century London, and many of them are embued with a politically radical (but still bardic) outlook on the squalid everyday life which surrounded Blake. This is a text which needs to be experienced with both sides of the brain. –John Bruno Hare, March 11, 2009.

Here’s an example:

“Cruelty has a Human Heart
And Jealousy a Human Face
Terror, the Human Form Divine
And Secrecy, the Human Dress

The Human Dress, is forged Iron
The Human Form, a fiery Forge.
The Human Face, a Furnace seal’d
The Human Heart, its hungry Gorge.”


2 thoughts on “The Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake

  1. Some of the songs resonated with me more than others but I expected that to happen – I also expect that to change each time I read them!


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