Summary: “Holy Thursday from Songs of Experience”
In the companion poem of Holy Thursday Songs of Innocence, William Blake discusses in the Songs of Experience the social chaos, especially the treatment of poor children, at that time. In the first stanza, “Is this a holy thing to see,” (line 1) Blake emphasizes “holy” again after the topic of this poem and implies the criticism toward church. “In a rich and fruitful land, babes reduced to misery,” (2-3) the ironic contrast in these two lines describes the peaceful world is not real; the human sorrow and the suffered children does exist instead. Furthermore, in the second stanza, Blake uses three questions, which are “Is that trembling cry a song? Can it be a song of joy? And so many children poor?” (5-7), to confirm the theme “a land of poverty” (8) and the sympathy toward children of this poem. For enhancing the description of the human suffering, stanza 3 vividly conveys the image of the miserable land. “And their sun does never shine,” (9) indicates the sun disappears and the endless dark fall upon the world. In addition, Blake takes “thorns” (11) to express various difficulties to live; on the other hand, the “eternal winter” (12) in the end of this stanza reveals the hopeless future for human kind. “Nor poverty the mind appall,” (16) Blake discloses his attitude that our mind will never get peace when mind never get poverty. From this poem, Blake tries to describe children’s tragic situation and the chaotic social system at his time; it’s a vivid but sorrowful masterpiece.
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