Essay about Rhythmical Patterns in William Blake's Infant Sorrow

Essay about Rhythmical Patterns in William Blake's Infant Sorrow

Length: 805 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Rhythmical Patterns of "Infant Sorrow" in William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience


In Songs of Innocence and of Experience, by William Blake, we come to the realization that although innocence and experience are dichotomies it’s common for a reader of songs to detect experience in a poem about innocence and vice versa. To fully understand "Infant Sorrow" a look at the definition of innocence and its relationship to experience is needed.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary innocence is defined as uncorrupted by evil, malice, without wrongdoing, sinless, and not experienced. Experience, however, is the activity or practice through which knowledge or skill is derived. If this is the case why are both in the same poem? Some would say that in poems such as "Infant Sorrow" the innocence that is usually attributed to the birth of a newborn can become a harsh and dreadful experience to both the mother and the infant being pulled from the womb.

To discern the dreadful experience of "Infant Sorrow" we must first understand the format of this poem. "Infant Sorrow" is that of a 4x4 formation, the rhythmical patterns of the poem. This formation indicates to the readers that four beats are contained in each line of the poem. For every four lines a total of sixteen beats are noticeable.

x _/ x _/ x _/ x _/
My mother groand! my father wept
x _x x _/ x x _/ x _/
Into the dangerous world I leapt:
_/ x _/ x _/ x _/ [x]
Helpless, naked, piping loud:
_/ x _/ / _x x _/ [x]
Like a fiend hid in a cloud.

Offbeats (x), although not heard, are relatively important because they combine and hold together stressed words. Thi...


... middle of paper ...


...Infant Sorrow," the newly born baby, who is also the speaker of the poem, tells the story of his helpless debut into this new world. He informs the readers of the pain and agony he and his parents dealt with as he struggled with his father to spread his arms. He talks about the discomfort he felt as he tried to tussle and free himself, before ultimately giving into his experienced mother to ultimately "sulk" upon her breast for nourishment. The mix of iambic and trochaic verse in this poem shows the sorrowful state of the baby and the struggle that compels him to break free. Transitional words like "leapt" in the first stanza and "striving" in the second show the baby’s attempt to transform and take himself out of an uncomfortable situation.

Works Cited

Blake, William. Songs of Innocence and of Experience. New York: Orion, 1967. Rpt. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1970.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

William Blake 's The Romantic Era Essay

- During the Romantic Era, William Blake demonstrated a unique way of viewing the world, that was easily separated from the normal way of thinking. His poetry along with the ideas he expressed have influenced a countless number of individuals to see the world as it truly is: beautiful yet corrupted by oppression. William Blake lived his life in poverty, finding his only comfort within the confines of his work; therefore, there is no doubt that his poetry reflected his life and ideals. Through his childhood, obsession with art, and the the various writers he came in contact with influencing him, William Blake conveyed his questioning attitude within the many stanzas he wrote....   [tags: William Blake]

Better Essays
1779 words (5.1 pages)

Essay about The Chimney Sweeper By William Blake

- William Blake wrote, ‘The Chimney Sweeper,’ as his cry against society. After being a witness to the appalling conditions the climbing boys experienced in London society during the French revolution. Blake was able to expose the tragedies of the young lives that lived during that time period; ‘The Chimney Sweeper,’ received public attention resulting in slight improvement of the 1788 Chimney Sweepers’ Act (Mellown 2). Blake’s poem both of Song of Innocence and Songs of Experience conflict the different states of the human soul through articulate literature techniques such as rhyme scheme, the voice of the speaker, and many other effective devices....   [tags: Poetry, William Blake, Romanticism]

Better Essays
1159 words (3.3 pages)

Analysis of William Blake's London Essay

- Even though there are only sixteen lines is this poem it is packed with the passions and frustrations of a lifetime of suffering. William Blake uses symbolism, allusion, and imagery to paint a vivid picture of the streets of London in the late 1700's and early 1800's. His AB, AB rhyming pattern resembles the narrator’s footsteps as he “wanders through each chartered street.” Each stressed syllable is like a foot hitting the cobblestoned streets. This rhythmically patterned style is used to convey Blake’s dissatisfaction of the social and political changes of the city....   [tags: poetry, william blake]

Better Essays
554 words (1.6 pages)

Rebellion As Art By William Blake Essay examples

- Recalcitrant Rebellion As Art William Blake was an English romantic poet who lived from 1757 to 1827 through both the American and the French revolutions. Although he lived during the Romantic Age, and was clearly part of the movement, Blake was a modern thinker who had a rebellious political spirit. He was the first to turn poetry and art into sociopolitical weapons to be raised rebelliously against the establishment. His poetry exemplified many of the same topics being discussed today. Although he was known as both a madman and a mystic, (Elliott) his poetry is both relevant and radical....   [tags: William Blake]

Better Essays
2117 words (6 pages)

The Chimney Sweeper By William Blake Essay

- Can changing the mindset the story is told from change the outlook of a story. Can two stories with the same topic, written by the same author make you feel two very different ways. William Blake illustrated this to a perfection with the poems “The Chimney Sweeper” from Songs of Innocence and “The Chimney Sweeper” from the Songs of Experience. The two poems have the same concept but are told from two different perspective. One from an innocent view of the world and one from someone with the experience of the world....   [tags: William Blake]

Better Essays
1184 words (3.4 pages)

Essay about William Blake 's The Tyger

- Why did William Blake decide to illustrate his own poems. In 1789, he published Songs of Innocence, and in 1794, he published its partner Songs of Experience. While it is not unusual for authors to publish their poems, Blake’s sets are different because he not only wrote the poems but illustrated and printed them himself. Blake could have done this because he could. He had experience and skills as a printer, but because he created the illustrations himself, it is possible to use them to find a deeper meaning for each poem (Lynch)....   [tags: William Blake]

Better Essays
1025 words (2.9 pages)

Essay William Blake 's Poetry And Art

- Late into the hours of the night on a Sunday in August of 1827, William Blake sat in his bed, completing a sketch of his wife Catherine. The sketch was the very last time Blake put pencil to paper, as he died just after (King 228). Until his very last moments, William Blake was a man of intense vision and artistic strength, creating some of the most powerful and recognizable pieces of poetry and art to date. His works were the product of his eccentricity, religious fervor, socio-political progressivism, and the Industrial age London in which he spent his life....   [tags: William Blake]

Better Essays
1717 words (4.9 pages)

William Blake's The Tyger Essay

- William Blake's The Tyger In “The Tyger,” William Blake uses meter and rhyme to enhance both the meaning and the rhythm of his piece. The chanting nature is reinforced by frequent end-stop and catalectic endings for the lines. By melding these devices, Blake has managed to create a powerful poem – hidden in the casual style of a nursery rhyme. The meter of “The Tyger” is mostly trochaic tetrameter (four feet per line; stressed-unstressed). Or trochaic three-and-a-half meter, really – Blake uses a catalectic ending (the dropping of the last unstressed syllable) on every trochaic line....   [tags: William Blake Tyger Essays]

Better Essays
835 words (2.4 pages)

William Blake Essay

- William Blake William Blake is one of England’s most famous literary figures. He is remembered and admired for his skill as a painter, engraver, and poet. He was born on Nov. 28, 1757 to a poor Hosier’s family living in or around London. Being of a poor family, Blake received little in the way of comfort or education while growing up. Amazingly, he did not attend school for very long and dropped out shortly after learning to read and write so that he could work in his father’s shop. The life of a hosier however was not the right path for Blake as he exhibited early on a skill for reading and drawing....   [tags: William Blake Essays]

Better Essays
1877 words (5.4 pages)

William Blake Essay

- William Blake William Blake was born in 1757 during a time when Romanticism was on the rise. Romantic poets of this day and age, living in England, experienced changes from a wealth-centered aristocracy to a modern industrial nation where power shifted to large-scale employers thus leading to the enlargement of the working class. Although Blake is seen as a very skillful writer his greatest successes were his engravings taught to him by a skilled sculpture. Blake differed from other poets in that he never received a formal education....   [tags: Biography William Blake Papers]

Better Essays
2121 words (6.1 pages)