The Garden of Love

The Garden of Love


  • “The Garden of Love” is a poem existing within William Blake’s anthology, “Songs of Experience”.
  • Blake juxtaposes scenes of joy and innocence from his past with the sombre ones from his present, portraying the transformation of the Garden of Love into a place of restrictive doctrines.


  • The “Garden of Love” symbolises a place of emotional and spiritual liberty, transformed into a place of suppression due to institutionalisation.
  • The “Chapel” stands as a metaphor for the church, typifying religious doctrines and restrictions.
  • The “tombstones” signify the death of innocence and freedom due to repressive religious values.


  • Loss of Innocence: The transition from an enjoyable garden to a graveyard encapsulates the loss of innocence and freedom.
  • Religious Institutionalisation: The transformation of the garden into a Chapel points to the restrictive nature of religious institutions.
  • Transformation: The poem outlines the shift from innocence to experience through the changes in the Garden of Love.


  • Visual imagery: Blake describes the scene of a blossoming garden transforming into a place with ‘briars’ and ‘tombstones’ for effective contrast.
  • Tactile imagery: The ‘briars’ in the poem are not just seen but felt, introducing a sense of discomfort and pain.


  • The transformation of the playful garden into a grave is a powerful metaphor for the end of innocence.

Rhyme and Meter

  • The poem adheres to an ABCB defg rhyme scheme, which underlines the sombre and personal confession within the verses.
  • Each stanza in the poem contains four lines with alternating rhythm.


  • Part of “Songs of Experience”, the poem explores themes of loss, transformation, and the constraining power of institutions.
  • Blake’s work was significantly shaped by his philosophical and spiritual beliefs, his criticism towards organised religion reflected in his “The Garden of Love”.

This analysis provides a comprehensive understanding of “The Garden of Love” by William Blake in its context within the anthology.