Infant Joy and Infant Sorrow by William Blake
How should we perceive children? Are children born with sin as the Calvanists believed? Do infants retain a memory of God as some Romantics believed? Are children, as Rousseau taught, naturally good with an innate ability to learn?
In these two poems we will explore how William Blake, a Romantic poet, gave voice to the voiceless infants.
We will also discuss why these poems are useless by themselves but profound within the context of The Songs of Innocence and Experience.
Infant Joy BY WILLIAM BLAKE I have no name I am but two days old.— What shall I call thee? I happy am Joy is my name,— Sweet joy befall thee! Pretty joy! Sweet joy but two days old, Sweet joy I call thee; Thou dost smile. I sing the while Sweet joy befall thee.
Infant Sorrow BY WILLIAM BLAKE My mother groand! my father wept. Into the dangerous world I leapt: Helpless, naked, piping loud; Like a fiend hid in a cloud. Struggling in my fathers hands: Striving against my swaddling bands: Bound and weary I thought best To sulk upon my mothers breast.