Analysis of Poem, The Garden of Love from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience
Blake’s poems are divided into two sections, Songs of Experience and Songs of Innocence. Under Songs of Innocence, Blake seems to present his readers with innocence as freedom from sin, moral wrong, and guilt. In Songs of Experience, Blake seems to present the faults and sufferings of mankind.
Innocence and experience are contradictory viewpoints. When one is innocent, one is not aware, therefore one is lacking experience. Experience, on the other hand, is having knowledge and knowing what to expect. In "The Garden of Love," experience and innocence are symbiotic dichotomies. The experience is issuing from the speaker’s statement of being to this garden more than once, meaning innocence is also a component of experience: "A chapel was built in the midst, / Where I used to play on the green" (3-4).
Although the speaker doesn’t see the chapel the first time he goes to the garden, the Chapel might have been built since his earlier visit. Blindness is the speaker’s innocence. The speaker doesn’t want to accept reality, a vision that the Chapel had always been at the "Garden of Love."
The rhythmical and active and passive constructions in the song help the reader to perceive the symbiotic dichotomy. The "Garden of Love" contains three stanzas, of which all are written in iambic meter, meaning the line begins with an unstressed syllable, followed by a stressed syllable with a beat. Each stanza contains four lines. In the first stanza the active construction signifies the action is done by the speaker of the poem: "I went to the Garden of Love" (1). The third line of the first stanza, on the other hand, is passive because we don’t know who built the Chapel: "A Chapel was built in the midst."
The relation of experience with active and passive constructions helps the reader to clarify if there has been experience. As noted in this passage, the only experience the speaker of the poem has is with the garden. There is a possibility that the first time he had been to the "Garden of Love" the Chapel was there but he...