Introduction (Songs of Experience)

Introduction (Songs of Experience)


  • “Introduction” from Songs of Experience is a complementary counterpart to the introduction in Songs of Innocence. While the latter portrayed a lamb symbolising innocence, the former presents a Bard symbolising wisdom and experience.
  • This poem sets the tone for the rest of the collection in its portrayal of a harsh and cruel world, signalling a departure from the innocent vision of childhood in Songs of Innocence.


  • The Bard symbolises Blake himself as the inspired poet or prophet, given the power to see the reality of the world.
  • The Holy Word represents divine revelation or truth which the Bard receives.
  • The motif of the earth covered in woe expresses the universally dire state of mankind.


  • Subjugation and Social Injustice: The poem explores a world marred by misery and deceit — a stark departure from the innocent world of Songs of Innocence.
  • The Visionary Imagination: The Bard’s vision symbolises the enlightening power of the imagination, enabling one to perceive and expose social and political injustices.
  • Voice of Prophecy: The Bard calling to earth to ‘turn away’ from ‘the holy word’ reiterates Blake’s motif of prophetic speech and alludes to a hopeful vision for the future.


  • Visual Imagery: The image of the ‘fallen light’ enhances the bleakness of the situation presented, contrasting with the divine brightness implied in Songs of Innocence.
  • Auditory Imagery: The Bard’s song, represented as the voice of the ancient Bard, creates a haunting, ethereal effect.

Rhyme and Meter

  • The entire poem follows an ABCB rhythm, accounting for a flowing, rhythmic reading experience.
  • This predictable and simple metre reflects the structured and mechanical world of experience that Blake criticises.


  • The ‘fallen light’ serves as a metaphor representing mankind’s fall from innocence into the darkness of experience.
  • The Bard’s song can be interpreted metaphorically as the voice of prophecy and inspiration trying to heal the world.


  • This poem reflects Blake’s disillusionment with the mechanistic and oppressive society of his time which he felt stifled creativity and freedom.
  • The melancholic tone and critical outlook showcase Blake’s disappointment and concern over the social conditions of his era.
  • Blake’s use of the Bard points to his belief in the power of poetry to expose truth and effect change in a society plagued by injustice and deceit.

This revision content provides a thorough and insightful exploration of ‘Introduction’ from Songs of Experience by William Blake. It sets the tone for a deeper understanding of the poems that follow in the anthology and enhances comparative analysis of Blake’s works across Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience.