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The Echoing Green
Transcript of The Echoing Green
The sun does arise,
And make happy the skies;
The merry bells ring
To welcome the Spring;
The skylark and thrush,
The birds of the bush,
Sing louder around
To the bell's cheerful sound;
While our sports shall be seen
On the echoing Green.
The Echoing Green
by William Blake
Old John, with white hair,
Does laugh away care,
Sitting under the oak,
Among the old folk.
They laugh at our play,
And soon they all say,
"Such, such were the joys
When we all -girls and boys-
In our youth-time were seen
On the Echoing Green."
Till the little ones, weary,
No more can be merry:
The sun does descend,
And our sports have an end.
Round the laps of their mothers
Many sisters and brothers,
Like birds in their nest,
Are ready for rest,
And sport no more seen,
On the darkening green.
VOICE & TONE
The poem starts off with a sunrise, and with the beginning of Spring. The last two lines are spoken in first person. The speaker is anticipating to be watched over by someone.
The second stanza tells us who is watching over the speaker. "Old John" and "the old folk" are laughing as they see the "girls and boys" play.
The last stanza takes place during the sunset. The children, tired and ready to sleep, have returned home to their mothers.
Blake interestingly words "echoing" and "green" with each other.
The colour green cannot possibly be heard.
Blake uses these words to literally represent an open land that echoes to the loud noises of birds, bells and children
The imagery in stanza one express emotions of freedom and wonder. They make us experience the feelings of being innocent.
The lines, "sitting under the oak,/ Among the old folk", gives the picture of a mid-day scene.
The stages of a day are used to represent innocence, and the human life cycle.
"The sun does arise" at the beginning of a day. The sun symbolizes birth. Innocence is associated with birth.
The descending sun in stanza three marks the end of the day, and is symbolic of the end of life.
Birds symbolize the connection between people and The Divine.
Songbirds "The skylark and thrush" sing in celebration of a new day, and the new life of a child
The simile comparing "brothers and sisters" to "birds in their nest" tell us that innocent children can also connect us to The Divine.
The last two lines in stanza one are echoed with variations in the other two stanzas.
Throughout the poem, there is an alternating rhyme scheme.
Blake uses simple words: "ring and Spring."
These childlike words suggest Blake's purpose to speak like a child throughout the poem.
The basic rhyme scheme helps portray the simplicity of innocence.
Blake carefully makes a distinction between the adults and the children in this poem.
"OLD John with WHITE hair".
We can assume that John has experienced many things in life, including sorrow. Having had experience with sorrow, John is still able to appreciate and understand the importance of joy.
A child-like voice echoes throughout the poem.
In stanza one, Blake speaks to represent newborn babies. Stanza one has a tone of joy and anticipation.
In stanza two, Blake speaks as the old folk. This is shown with the quotation marks surrounding the last four lines. There is a tone of reminiscence in the second stanza.
For stanza three, Blake speaks in the perspective of the young children from stanza two. These young children are experiencing the tiredness that old folk experience more frequently. The tone in ominous in stanza three.
In the last stanza, there is an image of a sunset, and it is associated with both children and birds returning home to their mothers.
By illustrating the difference in action between the sitting adults and the playing children, Blake emphasizes the barriers of age.
Blake emphasizes the word "echoing" to state that the scene is not constricted. The land is vast, which allows sounds to easily resonate around the area.
Both the experienced and the innocent are equally able to be close to The Divine.
We all need to put more work into caring for these "worlds" so that we do not need to use a lot of effort when finding The Divine. This should be done so that the easy access to The Divine will be echoed to the next generation.
Blake also shows the harmonic existence between both worlds.
Therefore the "Green" can symbolize youth.
The only full words that are repeated are "seen/ On the"
Blake may have done this to express the natural and constant changes throughout nature and our lives.