Spring: Poem by William Blake - Summary and Analysis

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Sound the flute!
Now it’s mute!
Bird’s delight,
Day and night,
In the dale,
Lark in sky,—
Merrily merrily, to welcome in the year.

Little boy,
Full of joy;
Little girl,
Sweet and small;
Cock does crow,
So do you;
Merry voice,
Infant noise;
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year.

Little lamb,
Here I am;
Come and lick
My white neck;
Let me pull
Your soft wool;
Let me kiss
Your soft face;
Merrily, merrily, to welcome in the year.

Summary and Analysis


      The poem 'Spring' upholds the simplest creed of innocence manifested in various objects of God's creation such as the crowing cock, birds, dale, lamb, and the child. Fish, flesh and fowl seem to have engaged in celebrating the springtime festival. Spring itself ultimately becomes a period of innocence since it favours the well-being of other representatives of innocence such as the child and the lamb.

In 'Spring' the poet unveils another picture of vernal beauty and springtime activities. The speaker is a little child. The advent of spring season is to be accorded a grand welcome with merry sounds and shows.


      In 'Spring' the poet unveils another picture of vernal beauty and springtime activities. The speaker is a little child. The advent of spring season is to be accorded a grand welcome with merry sounds and shows. So the poet (or the child) bids athers to play the flute which is supposedly silent so long. The birds like nightingale and lark are all zealous to welcome the new year. The little boy and the little girl are, all cheerful. The cocks crow and infants speak in joy to welcome the oncoming year. The child calls the little lamb and asks it to come and lick his white neck. He wants to pull at the lamb's wool and kiss the lovely face of the lamb with a view to celebrating the approach of the springtime.

The Vernal Cadence:

      The lamb's bleating is thin and short: the bird's chirping is either single or, as of a cock. two fold; the children's lisping or even their vocabulary is simple. limited and natural and hence the aptness of monosyllabic words in the poem. The music or cadence of 'Spring' resembles the cadence of a nursery rhyme. The short lines with regular minimised range of vocabulary are easily memorable and recapturable. The structure and diction of the poem also remind us of the frisking of a lamb, the thin shrill voice of birds and flute, the crowing of a cock, the hooting of a child, and at the end of each stanza the refrain conveys an added sense of joyful welcome.

The Partakers:

      Every object on earth is throbbing with inspiration when spring approaches. They have their own individual ways of celebrating the festival. But none is there who is not in the main stream of the festivities. According to the illustration of this poem given by Blake the speaker of the first two stanzas is an adult whereas the third stanza pertains to a child. But the stanzas are blended so skilfully that we find no trace of it being sponsored by two different persons. Both the speakers (perhaps a mother and her little child) merge into one another and become a single whole. Now, the mutual affection, not merely between the mother and the child, but among all the creatures and objects on earth leads the poet to change his twice-used refrain "Merrily, Merrily, to welcome in the year" into "Merrily. Merrily, we welcome in the year". The happiness and glee they have is reciprocal and produce the same effect in all.

The Unsophisticated Countryside:

      Almost all the pieces in Songs of Innocence give prominence to innocence which is one of the aspects of man; and what holds good for all these pieces is their simplicity and 'frisky' mood. But be hind this simplicity there is deep meaning and symbolism. As Joseph Wicksteed says, many of the songs are simple enough. They are exactly what they seem, lyrics of bird-like beauty and Arcadian charms. Others have a double beauty, a beauty of simple meaning and an accompanying beauty or remoter thought. In 'Spring' as in all the other pieces of Songs of Innocence those objects marked as innocent are the same- they include children, lamb and birds among other objects. But from this, we are not togather the false idea that innocence is equated with or, say, related to the ignorance, stupidity or ineptitude of these objects. It is realised and recognised in their inherent simplicity and natural purity. They are not all jolly young boys but as in 'The Little Black Boy' they face the pain and pleasure. Sweet and bitter experiences of life. Again, what is stange, they are characters capable of reasoning logically and even prophesying what the ultimate truth of things is.


      One of the charges levelled against Blake's "Spring is that it is an over sentimentalised, slipshod and flippant piece of work (a swamp of namby-pamby). True, it does not contain any high flown jargon of philosophy, nor does it involve any deep symbolic references. But indeed it is a rendering for children and for that very reason it is to be as simple as its subject matter. The pith and core of the beauty of the poem has been pointed out by Robert F. Glekner who says: The anonymous command opening the poem (Sound the flute) may be read simply as the breaking of the dark silence of the long night. the awakening of spring after winter's sleep, the revival of sport on the 'green' after a night in the earthly mother's warm protective bosom. And as for the development of thought in the poem, this type of Blakean progression also forms a prominent part of the structure of 'Night' and 'Introduction' and it is a good example of the way in which various symbols contribute to the formation of a major symbol. "The joy of heralding spring is thus universalised so that the idea of renascence as in 'The Echoing Green' can be applied equally well to divinity, humanity and the animal world," as Glekner puts it.

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