Little Girl Lost

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  • Published : October 8, 1999
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"A Little GIRL Lost" from Songs of Experience is one of Blake's most important poems. Though judging the aesthetic value of a poem is nearly impossible, I would contend that "A Little Girl Lost" is "better" than "The Little Girl Lost" found in Songs of Innocence. Perhaps because "A Little Girl Lost" was composed as an afterthought to its original counterpart, having been first written in "Innocence," it acts as a conclusion to the original poem. The two poems both observe a young girl as she encounters a world filled with innocence (in "The Little Girl Lost") and a world of experience ("A Little Girl Lost"). In first poem, a young seven-year-old girl named Lyca falls asleep in the wilderness under a tree. While her parents worry about her, she sleeps innocently in the woods with a lion prancing around her while she slumbers. The poetic vision seems to be a portrayal of young love--of innocence unprotected in the passion-haunted forest. In the second poem, found in "Experience," the feeling shifts from innocence to suggest a subversive course of love exploration. The young girl, Ona, discovers passion only to find that her father has a negative view on the very love she has just been introduced to. "A Little Girl Lost" seems to be much deeper in thought than "The Little Girl Lost." This depth in content begins with the title, which gives the poem an aura of uneasiness. A feeling that it is dangerous or sinful stems from word "Little" in the title, which implies that the girl addressed in the poem is quite young. Other signs such as the fact that the prologue is addressed to "children" and that the "maiden" is still clearly under parental guardianship create contradicting feelings about innocence. All this could be slightly misleading. Perhaps Blake, like Shakespeare, believed in very young brides. While the boy and the girl in...
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