Infant Sorrow

Topics: Devil, Satan, Serpent Pages: 6 (2096 words) Published: November 22, 2010
INFANT SORROW Structure:“Infant Sorrow” is a poem which comes from Blake’s “Songs of experience”; this can be understood by the point of view of the “narration”, which is that of one who has seen the world and 111i81b its corruption. It is made up of only two quatrains, and it has a regular rhyme scheme of coupled rhymes.


The poet is representing a fight against repression through the experience of an infant bound by a parental embrace, and yet thrown into the world so suddenly. The first lines represent his childbirth and the suffering of both of his parents,expecially the mother’s. But as soon as the child is born, he feels lost in the big world around him, “like a fiend hid in a cloud”, as the poet says; from the poet’s words (helpless, piping loud) it almost seems like the child isn’t happy of his birth, just like he already knows what is waiting for him outside.

In the second quatrain the poet expresses the struggling of the child, expeciallythrough two symbols: the swadling bands and the father’s hands, which symbolize the chains of repression which the infant is subdued to. In the end the protagonist decides to come back home to his mother’s breast, which is the safest place to be.

Comparison w/ other poems:

In this poem there are two characters who appear also in “The Chimney Sweeper”, another famous poem of Blake’s: the father and the mother. Their role in these two poems is in the same time the opposite and the same: they both treat their child in a bad way, but the chimney sweeper’s father is so cruel that he sells him, while the infant’s one loves him too much and doesn’t allow him to be free.


The language, as in most of Blake’s poems, is clear and simple, though a couple of uncommon words are used, such as “swadling” and “fiend”, whose meaning may be open to debate. The syntax is plain and easy to understand.

LONDON This poem conveys the poet’s view of London. Reading the first stanza we can already understand that there is a first person narrator because the first word is the “I” pronoun. The poet while walking in the streets of London, sees that is 646g68g all charted and also sees in every peoplemarks of woe. The poet for Blake is the only person who can see that common people can’t see, in fact in the second stanza the expression “I hear” highlights that the poet is a sort of prophet who can see this things and who can reach the truth. In line 8, the poet introduces a vision, that is a metaphor with an universal meaning. Political and social institutions have forged man’s mind so that they do what governament wants them to do. In this poem Blake condemns three institutions: CHURCH, MONARCHY and MARRIAGE. Blake attacks “black’ning Church” because it has forgotten the original religious spirit. The word “black’ning” indicates both the corruption of the churh and in fact that in Blake’s time churches were black for smoke caused by industrialisation. Then condemns the monarchy because it puts at risk soldier’s life. Finally he condemns the marriage that brings to prostitution because it reduces men’s freedom in a time where the people got married only for interest. The prostitution brings to degradation of the society because determined illegitimate children and many diseases as the syphilis. We can understand that the tone is initially emotional but then becomes indignant. It’s composed by 4 stanzas and the rhyme scheme is ABAB CDCD EFEF GHGH. There is a metaphor and the tenor is the terrible condition of poor people, the common ground is the imprisonment and the limitation of imagitation and the vehicle is the mind forg’d menecles. There are repetitions in lines 1-2 and 4 and an anafora in line 5-6-7.

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