Songs of Innocence
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Songs of Innocence

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  364 ratings  ·  18 reviews
William Blake's innovations in engraving techniques brought about his brilliant synthesis of visual and poetic art and signaled the beginning of his famous "Illuminated Books," of which the Songs of Innocence was the first and most popular. Unfortunately, Blake's vision is generally known to the world in amputated form: because of the difficulty and expense of reproducing...more
Paperback, 64 pages
Published June 1st 1971 by Dover Publications (first published 1789)
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Books I Read At University/College
58th out of 518 books — 54 voters
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65th out of 98 books — 61 voters

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Huda Yahya

When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry 'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!
So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep.

There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head,
That curled like a lamb's back, was shaved: so I said,
"Hush, Tom! never mind it, for when your head's bare,
You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair."

And so he was quiet; and that very night,
As Tom was a-sleeping, he had such a sight, -
That thousands of sweepers, Dick,
I love reading this illustrated version. These are poems I read when my spirit is flagging and I've lost my inner child. It's good to take one on a walk, memorize some lines, then return home, with a "rural pen", imagine sitting inside a flower, reflect on another's sorrow, or the Chimney Sweeper, on infant's joy, listen for laughter in the woods, say a prayer to Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love, say out loud the poem "Night" to the lost little boy and girl. This and Songs of Experience were given to...more
Jeff Crompton
This little volume reproduces a 1790 copy of Blake's first illuminated book in more or less the same size as the original. It's a remarkable work, combining poetry, illustration, painting, and design. Blake hand-lettered his poems onto copper plates, added illustrations of varying complexity, and hand-colored the pages after they were printed. Some of the lettering is hard to read, but printed versions of all the poems are included after the facsimile pages. Dover's paperback edition is sturdy,...more
Kally Sheng
The William Blake Archive:

Songs of Innocence, and Songs of Experience:
Songs of Innocence, and Songs of Experience (Audio):

The Shepherd
The Echoing Green
The Lamb
The Little Black Boy
The Blossom
The Chimney-Sweeper
The Little Boy Lost
The Little Boy Found
Laughing Song
A Cradle Song
The Divine Image
Holy Thursday
Nurse’s Song
Infant Joy
A Dream
On Another’s Sorro...more
Simple and full of joy. These poems are the perfect blend of weird, bizarre, beautiful, and artistic. The artwork that accompanies them is equally bizarre. They are almost disturbing. Disturbing, maybe more intriguing than disturbing. No a mix of both. A great mix of both, one that had me whispering the poems as I read. Very good. It only reassures my growing love for 19th century art and poetry.
لو لم تدرس الشعر الانجليزى فعليك بقراءة أغانى بليك,ولو كنت درست الشعر الانجليزى,ولم تعرف أصلا من هو بليك,فابالتأكيد كان مدرسك لهذه المادة,شخص يدعى أمير شبل الكومى,بس كده:)))
Mary Tuley
Aug 20, 2007 Mary Tuley rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Poetry fans.
I find Blake difficult and ornery, yet I admire this collection.
My mother bore me in the southern wild,
And I am black, but O my soul is white!
White as an angel is the English child,
But I am black, as if bereaved of light.

My mother taught me underneath a tree,
And, sitting down before the heat of day,
She took me on her lap and kissed me,
And, pointing to the East, began to say:

'Look on the rising sun: there God does live,
And gives His light, and gives His heat away,
And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive
Comfort in morning, joy in the noonda...more
The Divine Image

To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and love
All pray in their distress
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and love
Is God, our father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is Man, his child and care.

For Mercy, has a human heart
Pity a human face,
And Love, the hunan form divine,
And Peace, the human dress

Then every man, of every clime
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In he...more
Randolph Carter
Blake's first illustrated book of poetry. Lovely book. Blake's poetry is a little too on the sentimental side for me but the verse is good. Almost seems like a book to be read to a child. I guess "Innocence" should have given that away. I didn't realize how religious Blake's poetry was (my ignorance!). He never mentions Christ by name but his metaphors are straight from the New Testament.

These Dover editions have always been the best value. They are glued but never seem to split or drop sections...more
The Shepherd

How sweet is the Shepherd’s sweet lot!
From the morn to the evening he strays;
He shall follows his sheep all the day,
And his tongue shall be filled with praise.

For he hears the lamb’s innocent call,
And he hears the ewe’s tender reply;
He is watchful while they are in peace,
For they know when their Shepherd is nigh.
Maybe I would like Blake more if I had read him before everyone around me called him a "genius", but the build up was too much and I don't get it. My husband and I argue about this because he likes him. But putting pictures with words doesn't make you brilliant - it makes you an author of children's books.
What a wonderful compilation of poetry and visual art. I found a sense of internal quiet while reading this and enjoyed the distinct world that Blake creates. I look forward to reading the rest of his work.
Chris Schaeffer
I bought a little pocket-sized facsimile at a thrift store and read it in bed after arguing with my girlfriend. I was really stewing up there, reading Blake. It's ok everyone, we made up.
I did not know Blake was an illustrator. This is a masterpiece.
I love this collection of poems. Very simple and beautiful.
artwork as mysterious and beautiful as the poetry
Filomena Thepoet
Great pocket book. Great to lift the spirit.
Fay marked it as to-read
Aug 18, 2014
Carmen marked it as to-read
Aug 02, 2014
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  • English Romantic Poetry
  • The Prelude
  • The Collected Poems
  • Selected Poems (Dover Thrift Editions)
  • The Darkness Around Us is Deep: Selected Poems
  • Favorite Poems
  • Selected Poems and Four Plays
  • Selected Poems
  • Essay on Man and Other Poems
  • Poems for the Millennium, Vol. 1: Modern and Postmodern Poetry from Fin-de-Siècle to Negritude
  • Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburgh (College)
  • San Francisco Blues
  • Phantasmagoria and Other Poems
  • Poetry Speaks: Hear Great Poets Read Their Work from Tennyson to Plath [with 3 CDs]
  • Lyric Poems
  • Starting from San Francisco
  • Ozymandias
  • Field Work
William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake's work is today considered seminal and significant in the history of both poetry and the visual arts.

Blake's prophetic poetry has been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the language". His visual artistry has led one modern critic to proclaim h...more
More about William Blake...
Songs of Innocence and of Experience The Complete Poetry and Prose The Complete Poems The Marriage of Heaven and Hell The Complete Illuminated Books

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