The Echoing Green (innocence)
This poem depicts a conventional village in which a whole day’s cycle is portrayed. Within it youth and age all have their parts to play alongside the birds and other creatures of spring. Blake begins the poem with personification of the “skies”, and imagery of the birds which creates a natural idyllic setting. The welcoming of “spring” symbolises new birth. Blake emphasizes on a happy atmosphere by using words such as “merry” and “make happy” After this Blake uses the natural imagery of “the skylark and thrush, which represents an open space and freedom. The rural setting conotates that of innocence and is away from the pollution and urban settings of experience. The first two stanzas both end with a line “on the echoing green”. In both cases it shows the setting in a green area.
Old John still has a place in society, even though in the city he might be displaced or pensioned off. Similarly, the way city children might be brought up is implicitly contrasted with the “natural” cycle of the countryside whereby children rest when they are tired and “sport” naturally ends with the closing of the day. The last part of the second stanza consists of memories by the “old folk” in connection with the play of the children. A natural development from youth to old age is also conveyed. The critic Andrew Hollering says, “Blake use rhyming couplet throughout, and the result is a joyous bound together by the simplest of shared pleasures”.
In contrast, the final stanza continues the life cycle with the sun setting and the green darkening, to show death. It begins with “the little ones weary, no more can merry”, setting a different mood from earlier, Blake says “and our sports have an end round the laps of their mothers”, showing that ultimately all life must stop the same way life must die. The last lines suggest both the end of the day and the end of a distinctive way of life.
Nurse’s Song(innocence and experience)
The first stanza of the poem is evidence of Bakes’ pleasure in the play of children; thereafter it is a conversation between the children and their nurse. The upshot of which is that the children should be left to the natural cycle of the day and night rather than being subjected to the unnatural constraints of duty. The Nurse recognizes the fact that there is no need for her to overthrow her authority. Rather, there is a mutual agreement. The effect of this is that there is harmony between the children and nurse. On the other hand, in the Nurse's Song from the Songs of Experience, the nurse simply commands the children to come home because she seems to think it is a waste of time, "your spring and day are wasted in play". This shows a complete change of tone from the one of innocence. In the second stanza she suggests that “the sun is gone down”; but after the children have pleaded with her she accepts that they can continue playing until finally the light fades away”, and at the same time she gives them responsibility for determining their own lives rather than imposing conventional demands upon them. In this innocence poem green is a positive image of life. However in the world of experience, the word “green” suffers a change in the poem. The green referred to in line 1 of innocence is still the play space of the children, which portrays life in a positive image. Conversely in the world of experience, green is used negatively. The nurses’ face turns green in experience which can be interoperated at the sickness the nurse feels at the sight of the children, or a mark of her jealousy of their freedom....