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Holy Thursday - Innocence

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Harriet Blundell

on 19 July 2013

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Transcript of Holy Thursday - Innocence

Holy Thursday - Songs of Innocence
Going onto the second stanza, Blake uses repitition of the concrete noun "multitude" the use of the repitition accentuates the importance of how many children there are and how they are being affected by what is happening. The use of the metaphor 'these flowers of London town' enforces the children's innocence. Also the use of the collective noun 'flowers' shows how by comparing the children to flowers; they are fragile and they need a lot of care.
'Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two and two, in red and blue and green;
Grey-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Paul's they like Thames waters flow.

O what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!
Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own.
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among;
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor:
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.
In the first line of the first stanza we are introduced to the angelic imagery Blake uses to portray the children's physicality. The use of the pre-modifying adjective "innocent" shows the vulnerability of the children and that their appearance was only changed for that day, which enforces Blake's dislike towards the system that abuses children.

In the second line Blake describes how the children are walking and there is an internal rhyme which is shown when it says "two & two in red & blue" which shows the Biblical allusion to Noah's Ark, and the use of the primary colours red, blue and green show the colours of nature that show the innocence and purity of the children.


Blake uses antithesis in the third line when it says "Grey headed beadles walk'd before with wands as white as snow" the use of the pre-modifying adjective 'grey' to describe the beadles has negative connotations as it creates a dismal mood, whereas 'white' has positive connotations. The use of the simile 'wands as white as snow' creates a feeling of coldness yet importance because the children wouldn't be there if it wasn't for these people.
The second line 'Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among' Blake uses a simile and pathetic fallacy again. This adds effect because the pre-modifying adjective 'harmonious' portrays the beauty of the song that is sung when the children sing together. However the connotations of 'harmonious thunderings' are negative they create an image of a storm that is deafening with thunder and lightening, however the use of this simile is to add more of an effect to the previous line to show just how much power the children's song has.
Moving onto the second stanza, the first line says 'Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song' the simile in this line uses pathetic fallacy. The connotations linking to 'mighty wind' are negative as they create an image of a storm or treacherous weather conditions. The dynamic verb 'raise' is an allusion to Ascension Day which the poem is named after.

The use of the pre-modifying adjective 'mighty' shows the power of the children's song despite being earlier described as innocent which has connotations of vulnerability. In addition it emphasises the strength of the thousands of children over the beadles as they are shown to be seating 'beneath' the children. This is the only time the children have power over the beadles.
Furthermore, Blake uses an adverb 'beneath' to imply that the children, along with their song, are rising to heaven. The use of 'aged men' shows that the old has out lived the young. This is an unusual idea as the mortality rate was at a high rate when Blake was alive, this may suggest that they are spiritual beings.

The use of the noun 'gurdians' is an allusion to the belief of gurdian angels and the idea that God was sent by the angels to look over the poor and protect the people who are suffering. This suggests that the children have been sent to heaven in order to protect them the cruelty of life.
Finally, the last line of the third stanza 'Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door' this acts a warning because the narrative voice changes from third person to second person 'you'. Blake directly addresses the audience warning them of the consequence of turning children away from their home when they are needed most. The poem shows that if a child are turned away they will end up in a work house being abused by people who are supposedly meant to be looking after them; also it shows the children are gifts from God.
Holy Thursday has three stanzas which are quatrain and consists of two rhyming couplets and an AABB ryhme scheme.

There is a semantic field of religion throughout the poem and this is shown by the use of the concrete nouns 'Pauls', 'lambs', 'heaven', 'guardians'and 'angel' the nouns themselves draw attention to the importance of religion at the time Blake was alive. Also it emphasises what Blake is trying to get across; the innocence and vulnerability of the children.
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