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Introduction to the Songs of Innocence by William Blake

William Blake was the most eccentric of the Romantics. He was equally important in visual arts as well as poetry. His books included beautiful engravings all hand made, and for this reason he was not well known until the 20th century.

A man opposed to oppression and repression of all times, in his work we see an imaginative mind building an entire world before our eyes.

This first poem, "The Piper" is from The Songs of Innocence and it serves as the introduction to this book.

*At the bottom there are three plates relevant to the introduction to this book of poetry.


Introduction to the Songs of Innocence


Piping down the valleys wild

Piping songs of pleasant glee

On a cloud I saw a child.

And he laughing said to me.

Pipe a song about a Lamb;

So I piped with merry chear,

Piper pipe that song again—

So I piped, he wept to hear.

Drop thy pipe thy happy pipe

Sing thy songs of happy chear,

So I sung the same again

While he wept with joy to hear

Piper sit thee down and write

In a book that all may read—

So he vanish'd from my sight.

And I pluck'd a hollow reed.

And I made a rural pen,

And I stain'd the water clear,

And I wrote my happy songs

Every child may joy to hear


PLATE 1: Introduction

Plate 2: The Piper and the Muse

Plate 3: The poem


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