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Blake's "The Clod & The Pebble" Innocence Vs Experience.

1031 words - 4 pages

"Love seeketh not Itself to please,Nor for itself hath any care;But for another gives its ease,And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair."So sang a little Clod of Clay,Trodden with the cattle's feet:But a Pebble of the brookWarbled out these metres meet:"Love seeketh only Self to please,To bind another to its delight;Joys in another's loss of ease,And builds a Hell in Heaven's despite."William Blake (1757-1827)The above truly unique and abundant in imagery love poem belongs to the sequence of poems Songs of Experience, which was written as a response to the Songs of Innocence.In combination, these two groups of poems represent the world as it is envisioned by what Blake calls "two contrary states of the human soul." As it is implied by the name of these poems, Songs of Innocence refer to the naive, pure and guileless feelings we all have during our childhood and youth years, whereas the Songs of Experience constitute the "voice of logic", the experience gained through the hardships and ordeals during the mature years in one's life. The voice of experience warns the innocent against the pain, injustice and cruelty of life and advises cautiousness.What is unique in this poem is that the two contrary visions are presented evenly in one poem. The Clod - the innocent and altruistic love - and the Pebble - the selfish and self-absorbed emotion - are given precisely the same extent in the poem to give their message to the reader and let them judge for themselves. It is interesting to note the existence of two separate and distinct entities even from the title of the poem. The reader is about to read a poem about "the clod and the pebble" and not about "the clod and pebble". Therefore, it is almost obvious from the beginning that these two entities follow a different line of perspective.The little Clod of Clay believes in true, selfless and altruistic love, in the love that one should give constantly, even at the expense of their ease. Where there is "Hell" due to sufferings, conflicts and turbulent periods, the true and unselfish love is able to build a "Heaven". Upon reading the first stanza one could discern a possible allusion to the following well-known Bible verse,"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.(1 Corinthians 13: 4-7)Another possible allusion to the Bible could be the down-trodden and humiliated ("Trodden with the cattle's feet") Clod itself. It suffers, it is in constant pain and agony, it is perpetually stepped on and it will continue to be...But the Clod is aware of its place in the world. It is there to be stepped on and this does not seem to bother it so much so as to change its perspective on love. The Clod could be likened to a martyr, a saint who suffers an ignominious...

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