Lectures on William Blake, the Poet and the Artist
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Lectures on William Blake, the Poet and the Artist

A comprehensive analysis of the collection of poems in William Blake's "Songs of Innocence" and "Songs of Experience."
5.0 (3 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
122 students enrolled
Created by William Lasseter
Last updated 9/2013
English
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Includes:
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 1 hour on-demand audio
  • 5 Articles
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Learn how to read poetry
  • Learn how to understand and appreciate works of art
  • By the end of this course the student will have gained a deep appreciation for the work of William Blake and the time period in which he lived.
View Curriculum
Requirements
  • High School Reading Level
Description

Providence eLearning English Professor William Lasseter analyzes William Blake’s "Songs of Innocence" and "Songs of Experience" along with several additional poems and paintings. Published first in 1789, Songs of Innocence revealed one half of a two part thesis by Blake on the state of human perception. Blake saw the world as composed of two contrary and complementary states, calling them respectively “Innocence” and “Experience”. "Songs of Experience" was bound together with "Songs of Innocence" and printed in 1794. In it Blake sets forth the second part of his two part thesis on human perception.

Who is the target audience?
  • High School and College Students, Adult Learners
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Curriculum For This Course
110 Lectures
03:55:18
+
Introduction
1 Lecture 01:31

An introduction video to the course, "William Blake: Songs of Innocence and Experience".

Preview 01:31
+
Preface
4 Lectures 06:31

A preface video for William Blake's "Songs of Innocence and Experience".

Preview 05:39

A quiz based on the preface video lecture.

Preface Quiz
1 question

William Blake Biography
00:03

A timeline of the life and works of William Blake.

William Blake Life Timeline
6 pages

Themes to Look for in Blake's Work
00:49
+
Songs of Innocence
40 Lectures 01:01:09

A bit of background on William Blake's "Songs of Innocence" poems.

Background
00:48

A video analysis of the cover plate of "Songs of Innocence" by William Blake.

Preview 03:09

Introduction

Piping down the valleys wild

Piping songs of pleasant glee

On a cloud I saw a child.

And he laughing said to me.

————————————

“Pipe a song about a Lamb:”

So I piped with merry chear,

“Piper, pipe that song again—”

So I piped, he wept to hear.

————————————

“Drop thy pipe thy happy pipe

Sing thy songs of happy chear,”

So I sung the same again

While he wept with joy to hear.

—————————————

“Piper sit thee down and write

In a book that all may read—”

So he vanished from my sight

And I pluck'd a hollow reed.

——————————————

And I made a rural pen,

And I stained the water clear,

And I wrote my happy songs,

Every child may joy to hear.

Introduction Audio and Text
00:45

A video lecture based on the "Introduction" to "Songs of Innocence" by William Blake.

Introduction Video Lecture
04:31

A quiz based on the text and video for "Introduction" by William Blake.

Introduction Quiz
1 question

The Shepherd


How sweet is the shepherd’s sweet lot!

From the morn to the evening he strays;

He shall follow his sheep all the day,

And his tongue shall be filled with praise.

——————————————————

For he hears the lambs’ innocent call,

And he hears the ewes’ tender reply;

He is watchful while they are in peace.

For they know when their Shepherd is nigh.

The Shepherd Audio and Text
00:23

An audio footnote based on "The Shepherd" by William Blake.

The Shepherd Audio Footnote
00:22

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 bells’ cheerful sound,

While our sports shall be seen

On the Echoing Green.

—————————————

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 & 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 sports no more seen

On the darkening Green.

The Echoing Green Audio and Text
00:52

An audio footnote based on "The Echoing Green" by William Blake.

The Echoing Green Audio Footnote
00:29

The Lamb


Little Lamb, who made thee?

Dost thou know who made thee?

Gave thee life, and bid thee feed

By the stream and o'er the mead;

Gave thee clothing of delight,

Softest clothing, woolly, bright;

Gave thee such a tender voice,

Making all the vales rejoice?

Little Lamb, who made thee?

Dost thou know who made thee?

———————————————

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee:

He is called by thy name,

For he calls himself a Lamb.

He is meek, and he is mild;

He became a little child.

I a child, and thou a lamb.

We are called by his name.

Little Lamb, God bless thee!

Little Lamb, God bless thee!

The Lamb Audio and Text
00:47

A video lecture based on "The Lamb" by William Blake.

The Lamb Video Lecture
05:03

A quiz based on the text and video for "The Lamb" by William Blake.

The Lamb Quiz
1 question

The Little Black Boy


My mother bore me in the southern wild,

And I am black, but O! my soul is white;

White as an angel is the English child,

But I am black, as if bereav’d of light.

——————————————————

My mother taught me underneath a tree,

And sitting down before the heat of day,

She took me on her lap and kissed me,

And pointing to the east, began to say:

———————————————————

“Look on the rising sun: there God does live,

And gives his light, and gives his heat away;

And flowers and trees and beasts and men receive

Comfort in morning, joy in the noonday.

—————————————————————

“And we are put on earth a little space,

That we may learn to bear the beams of love;

And these black bodies and this sunburnt face

Is but a cloud, and like a shady grove.

—————————————————————

“For when our souls have learn’d the heat to bear,

The cloud will vanish; we shall hear his voice,

Saying: ‘Come out from the grove, my love & care,

And round my golden tent like lambs rejoice.’”

——————————————————————

Thus did my mother say, and kissed me;

And thus I say to little English boy:

When I from black and he from white cloud free,

And round the tent of God like lambs we joy,

——————————————————————

I'll shade him from the heat, till he can bear

To lean in joy upon our Father’s knee;

And then I'll stand and stroke his silver hair,

And be like him, and he will then love me.

The Little Black Boy Audio and Text
01:33

An audio footnote based on "The Little Black Boy" by William Blake.

The Little Black Boy Audio Footnote
00:50

The Blossom


Merry, merry sparrow!

Under leaves so green

A happy blossom

Sees you, swift as arrow,

Seek your cradle narrow,

Near my bosom.

————————————

Pretty, pretty robin!

Under leaves so green

A happy blossom

Hears you sobbing, sobbing,

Pretty, pretty robin,

Near my bosom.

The Blossom Audio and Text
00:20

A video lecture based on "The Blossom" by William Blake.

The Blossom Video Lecture
04:20

A quiz based on the text and video for "The Blossom" by William Blake.

The Blossom Quiz
1 question

The Chimney Sweeper


When my mother died I was very young,

And my father sold me while yet my tongue

Could scarcely cry “ ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep! ‘weep!”

So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep.

———————————————————————

There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head,

That curl'd like a lamb’s back. was shav’d: so I said

“Hush. Tom! never mind it, for when your head’s bare

You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.”

————————————————————————

And so he was quiet & that very night,

As Tom was a-sleeping, he had such a sight!

That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned and Jack,

Were all of them lock’d up in coffins of black.

————————————————————————

And by came an Angel who had a bright key,

And he open’d the coffins & set them all free;

Then down a green plain leaping, laughing, they run,

And wash in a river. and shine in the Sun.

————————————————————————

Then naked & white, all their bags left behind,

They rise upon clouds and sport in the wind;

And the Angel told Tom, if he’d be a good boy,

He’d have God for his father & never want joy.

————————————————————————

And so Tom awoke; and we rose in the dark.

And got with our bags & our brushes to work.

Tho’ the morning was cold, Tom was happy & warm;

So if all do their duty they need not fear harm.

The Chimney Sweeper Audio and Text
01:30

A video lecture based on "The Chimney Sweeper" by William Blake.

The Chimney Sweeper Video Lecture
05:08

A quiz based on the text and video for "The Chimney Sweeper" by William Blake.

The Chimney Sweeper Quiz
1 question

The Little Boy Lost


“Father, father, where are you going?

O do not walk so fast!

Speak, father, speak to your little boy,

Or else I shall be lost.”

——————————————————

The night was dark, no father was there,

The child was wet with dew;

The mire was deep, and the child did weep,

And away the vapour flew.

The Little Boy Lost Audio and Text
00:23

A video lecture based on "The Little Boy Lost" by William Blake.

The Little Boy Lost Video Lecture
04:46

A quiz based on the text and video for "The Little Boy Lost" by William Blake.

The Little Boy Lost Quiz
1 question

The Little Boy Found


The little boy lost in the lonely fen,

Led by the wand’ring light,

Began to cry; but God, ever nigh,

Appear’d like his father in white.

————————————————

He kissed the child & by the hand led

And to his mother brought,

Who in sorrow pale, thro’ the lonely dale,

Her little boy weeping sought.

The Little Boy Found Audio and Text
00:24

A video lecture based on "The Little Boy Found" by William Blake.

The Little Boy Found Video Lecture
04:31

A quiz based on the text and video for "The Little Boy Found" by William Blake.

The Little Boy Found Quiz
1 question

Laughing Song


When the green woods laugh with the voice of joy,

And the dimpling stream runs laughing by;

When the air does laugh with our merry wit,

And the green hill laughs with the noise of it;

————————————————————

When the meadows laugh with lively green,

And the grasshopper laughs in the merry scene,

When Mary and Susan and Emily

With their sweet round mouths sing “Ha, Ha, He!”

—————————————————————

When the painted birds laugh in the shade,

Where our table with cherries and nuts is spread,

Come live & be merry, and join with me,

To sing the sweet chorus of “Ha, Ha, He!”

Laughing Song Audio and Text
00:34

An audio footnote based on "Laughing Song" by William Blake.

Laughing Song Audio Footnote
00:27

A Cradle Song


Sweet dreams, form a shade

O’er my lovely infant’s head;

Sweet dreams of pleasant streams

By happy, silent, moony beams.

———————————————

Sweet sleep, with soft down

Weave thy brows an infant crown.

Sweep sleep, Angel mild,

Hover o’er my happy child.

———————————————

Sweet smiles, in the night

Hover over my delight;

Sweet smiles, Mother’s smiles,

All the livelong night beguiles.

————————————————

Sweet moans, dovelike sighs,

Chase not slumber from thy eyes.

Sweet moans, sweeter smiles,

All the dovelike moans beguiles.

————————————————

Sleep, sleep, happy child,

All creation slept and smil’d;

Sleep, sleep, happy sleep,

While o’er thee thy mother weep.

————————————————

Sweet babe, in thy face

Holy image I can trace.

Sweet babe, once like thee,

Thy maker lay and wept for me,

—————————————————

Wept for me, for thee, for all,

When he was an infant small

Thou his image ever see,

Heavenly face that smiles on thee,

—————————————————

Smiles on thee, on me, on all;

Who became an infant small.

Infant smiles are his own smiles;

Heaven & earth to peace beguiles.

A Cradle Song Audio and Text
01:38

An audio footnote based on "A Cradle Song" by William Blake.

A Cradle Song Audio Footnote
00:42

The Divine Image


To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love

All pray in their distress;

And to these virtues of delight

Return their thankfulness.

———————————————

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love

Is God, our father dear,

And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love

Is Man, his child and care.

———————————————

For Mercy has a human heart,

Pity a human face,

And Love, the human form divine,

And Peace, the human dress.

———————————————

Then every man, of every clime,

That prays in his distress,

Prays to the human form divine,

Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

———————————————

And all must love the human form,

In heathen, turk, or jew;

Where Mercy, Love, & Pity dwell

There God is dwelling too

The Divine Image Audio and Text
00:55

An audio footnote based on "The Divine Image" by William Wordsworth.

The Divine Image Audio Footnote
00:37

Holy Thursday


’Twas on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,

The children walking two & two, in red & blue & green,

Grey-headed beadles walk’d 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 seem’d, 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 & 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.

Holy Thursday Audio and Text
00:57

An audio footnote based on "Holy Thursday" by William Blake.

Holy Thursday Audio Footnote
01:14

Night


The sun descending in the west,

The evening star does shine;

The birds are silent in their nest,

And I must seek for mine.

The moon like a flower

In heaven’s high bower,

With silent delight

Sits and smiles on the night.

——————————————————

Farewell, green fields and happy groves,

Where flocks have took delight.

Where lambs have nibbled, silent moves

The feet of angels bright;

Unseen they pour blessing

And joy without ceasing,

On each bud and blossom,

And each sleeping bosom.

————————————————————

They look in every thoughtless nest,

Where birds are cover’d warm;

They visit caves of every beast,

To keep them all from harm.

If they see any weeping

That should have been sleeping,

They pour sleep on their head,

And sit down by their bed.

————————————————————

When wolves and tygers howl for prey,

They pitying stand and weep;

Seeking to drive their thirst away,

And keep them from the sheep;

But if they rush dreadful,

The angels, most heedful,

Receive each mild spirit,

New worlds to inherit.

——————————————————

And there the lion’s ruddy eyes

Shall flow with tears of gold,

And pitying the tender cries,

And walking round the fold,

Saying “Wrath, by his meekness,

And by his health, sickness

Is driven away

From our immortal day.

—————————————————

“And now beside thee, bleating lamb,

I can lie down and sleep;

Or think on him who bore thy name,

Graze after thee and weep.

For, wash’d in life’s river,

My bright mane for ever

Shall shine like the gold

As I guard o'er the fold.”

Night Audio and Text
01:51

An audio footnote based on "Night" by William Blake.

Night Audio Footnote
00:35

Spring


Sound the Flute!

Now it’s mute.

Birds delight

Day and Night;

Nightingale

In the dale,

Lark in Sky,

Merrily,

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, we welcome in the Year

Spring Audio and Text
00:39

An audio footnote based on "Spring" by William Blake.

Spring Audio Footnote
00:40

Nurse’s Song


When the voices of children are heard on the green

And laughing is heard on the hill,

My heart is at rest within my breast

And everything else is still.

——————————————————————

“Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down

And the dews of night arise;

Come, come, leave off play, and let us away

Till the morning appears in the skies.”

———————————————————————

“No, no, let us play, for it is yet day

And we cannot go to sleep;

Besides, in the sky the little birds fly

And the hills are all cover’d with sheep.”

————————————————————————

“Well, well, go & play till the light fades away

And then go home to bed.”

The little ones leaped & shouted & laugh’d

And all the hills echoed.

Nurse's Song Audio and Text
00:46

An audio footnote based on "Nurse's Song" by William Blake.

Nurse's Song Audio Footnote
00:32

Infant Joy


“I have no name;

I am but two days old.”

What shall I call thee?

“I happy am,

Joy is my name.”

Sweet joy befall thee!

———————————

Pretty joy!

Sweet joy, but two days old.

Sweet Joy I call thee:

Thou dost smile,

I sing the while;

Sweet joy befall thee!

Infant Joy Audio and Text
00:25

A video lecture based on "Infant Joy" by William Blake.

Infant Joy Video Lecture
04:06

A quiz based on the text and video for "Infant Joy" by William Blake.

Infant Joy Quiz
1 question

A Dream


Once a dream did weave a shade

O’er my Angel-guarded bed,

That an Emmet lost its way

Where on grass methought I lay.

———————————————

Troubled, ’wilder’d, and forlorn,

Dark, benighted, travel-worn,

Over many a tangled spray,

All heart-broke I heard her say:

———————————————

“O, my children! do they cry?

Do they hear their father sigh?

Now they look abroad to see:

Now return and weep for me.”

————————————————

Pitying, I drop’d a tear;

But I saw a glow-worm near,

Who replied: “What wailing wight

Calls the watchman of the night?

————————————————

“I am set to light the ground,

While the beetle goes his round:

Follow now the beetle’s hum;

Little wanderer, hie thee home.”

A Dream Audio and Text
00:54

An audio footnote based on "A Dream" by William Blake.

A Dream Audio Footnote
00:41

On Another’s Sorrow


Can I see another’s woe,

And not be in sorrow too?

Can I see another’s grief,

And not seek for kind relief?

—————————————

Can I see a falling tear,

And not feel my sorrow’s share?

Can a father see his child

Weep, nor be with sorrow fill’d?

———————————————

Can a mother sit and hear

An infant groan an infant fear?

No, no! never can it be!

Never, never can it be!

——————————————

And can he who smiles on all

Hear the wren with sorrows small,

Hear the small bird’s grief & care,

Hear the woes that infants bear,

———————————————

And not sit beside the nest,

Pouring pity in their breast;

And not sit the cradle near,

Weeping tear on infant’s tear;

———————————————

And not sit both night & day,

Wiping all our tears away?

O, no! never can it be!

Never, never can it be!

———————————————

He doth give his joy to all;

He becomes an infant small;

He becomes a man of woe;

He doth feel the sorrow too.

————————————————

Think not thou canst sigh a sigh

And thy maker is not by;

Think not thou canst weep a tear

And thy maker is not near.

————————————————

O! he gives to us his joy

That our grief he may destroy;

Till our grief is fled & gone

He doth sit by us and moan.

On Another's Sorrow Audio and Text
01:30

An audio footnote based on "On Another's Sorrow" by William Blake.

On Another's Sorrow Audio Footnote
00:32

A quiz based on all the poems in "Songs of Innocence" by William Blake.

Songs of Innocence Quiz
15 questions
+
Songs of Experience
54 Lectures 01:58:42

A bit of background information to William Blake's "Songs of Experience".

Background
00:53

A video analysis of the cover plate of "Songs of Experience" by William Blake.

Cover Plate Analysis Video
05:17

An analysis video based on the "Frontispiece" for "Songs of Experience" by William Blake.

Frontispiece Analysis Video
04:01

Introduction


Hear the voice of the Bard,

Who present, past, and future, sees;

Whose ears have heard

The Holy Word

That walk’d among the ancient trees;

————————————————

Calling the lapsèd soul,

And weeping in the evening dew;

That might control

The starry pole,

And fallen, fallen light renew!

————————————————

“O Earth, O Earth, return!

Arise from out the dewy grass!

Night is worn,

And the morn

Rises from the slumbrous mass.

————————————————

“Turn away no more;

Why wilt thou turn away?

The starry floor,

The watery shore,

Is given thee till the break of day.”

Introduction Audio and Text
00:46

A video lecture based on the "Introduction" for "Songs of Experience" by William Blake.

Introduction Video Lecture
03:26

A quiz based on the text and video for the "Introduction" to "Songs of Experience" by William Blake.

Introduction Quiz
1 question

Earth’s Answer


Earth raised up her head

From the darkness dread and drear,

Her light fled,

Stony, dread,

And her locks covered with grey despair.

——————————————————

“Prisoned on watery shore,

Starry jealousy does keep my den

Cold and hoar;

Weeping o’er,

I hear the father of the ancient men.

——————————————————

“Selfish father of men!

Cruel, jealous, selfish fear!

Can delight,

Chained in night,

The virgins of youth and morning bear.

——————————————————

“Does spring hide its joy,

When buds and blossoms grow?

Does the sower

Sow by night,

Or the ploughman in darkness plough?

——————————————————

“Break this heavy chain,

That does freeze my bones around!

Selfish, vain,

Eternal bane,

That free love with bondage bound.”

Earth's Answer Audio and Text
01:05

An audio footnote based on "Earth's Answer" by William Blake.

Earth's Answer Audio Footnote
00:48

The Clod and the Pebble


“Love seeketh not Itself to please,

Nor for itself hath any care;

But for another gives its ease,

And builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair.”

——————————————————

So sung a little Clod of Clay,

Trodden with the cattle’s feet;

But a Pebble of the brook,

Warbled out these metres meet:

————————————————-——

“Love seeketh only self to please,

To bind another to Its delight,

Joys in another’s loss of ease,

And builds a Hell in Heaven’s despite.”

The Clod and the Pebble Audio and Text
00:37

An audio footnote based on "The Clod and the Pebble" by William Blake.

The Clod and the Pebble Audio Footnote
00:37

Holy Thursday


Is this a holy thing to see

In a rich and fruitful land,

Babes reduced to misery,

Fed with cold and usurous hand?


Is that trembling cry a song?

Can it be a song of joy?

And so many children poor?

It is a land of poverty!


And their sun does never shine,

And their fields are bleak and bare,

And their ways are filled with thorns:

It is eternal winter there.


For where’er the sun does shine,

And where’er the rain does fall,

Babes should never hunger there,

Nor poverty the mind appall.

Holy Thursday Audio and Text
00:41

An audio footnote based on "Holy Thursday" by William Blake.

Holy Thursday Audio Footnote
00:41

The Little Girl Lost


In futurity

I prophesy

That the earth from sleep

(Grave the sentence deep)

————————————

Shall arise, and seek

For her Maker meek;

And the desert wild

Become a garden mild.

—————————————

In the southern clime,

Where the summer’s prime

Never fades away,

Lovely Lyca lay.

—————————————

Seven summers old

Lovely Lyca told.

She had wandered long,

Hearing wild birds’ song.

——————————————

“Sweet sleep, come to me,

Underneath this tree;

Do father, mother, weep?

Where can Lyca sleep?

——————————————

“Lost in desert wild

Is your little child.

How can Lyca sleep

If her mother weep?

——————————————

“If her heart does ache,

Then let Lyca wake;

If my mother sleep,

Lyca shall not weep.

——————————————

“Frowning, frowning night,

O’er this desert bright

Let thy moon arise,

While I close my eyes.”

——————————————

Sleeping Lyca lay,

While the beasts of prey,

Come from caverns deep,

Viewed the maid asleep.

——————————————

The kingly lion stood,

And the virgin viewed:

Then he gambolled round

O’er the hallowed ground.

——————————————

Leopards, tigers, play

Round her as she lay;

While the lion old

Bowed his mane of gold,

——————————————

And her bosom lick,

And upon her neck,

From his eyes of flame,

Ruby tears there came;

——————————————

While the lioness

Loosed her slender dress,

And naked they conveyed

To caves the sleeping maid.

The Little Girl Lost Audio and Text
01:32

A video lecture based on "The Little Girl Lost" by William Blake.

The Little Girl Lost Video Lecture
05:42

A quiz based on the text and video for "The Little Girl Lost" by William Blake.

The Little Girl Lost Quiz
1 question

The Little Girl Found


All the night in woe

Lyca’s parents go

Over valleys deep,

While the deserts weep.

———————————

Tired and woe-begone,

Hoarse with making moan,

Arm in arm, seven days

They traced the desert ways.

—————————————

Seven nights they sleep

Among shadows deep,

And dream they see their child

Starved in desert wild.

—————————————

Pale through pathless ways

The fancied image strays,

Famished, weeping, weak,

With hollow piteous shriek.

—————————————

Rising from unrest,

The trembling woman pressed

With feet of weary woe;

She could no further go.

—————————————

In his arms he bore

Her, armed with sorrow sore;

Till before their way

A couching lion lay.

—————————————

Turning back was vain:

Soon his heavy mane

Bore them to the ground,

Then he stalked around,

—————————————

Smelling to his prey;

But their fears allay

When he licks their hands,

And silent by them stands.

—————————————

They look upon his eyes,

Filled with deep surprise;

And wondering behold

A spirit armed in gold.

—————————————

On his head a crown,

On his shoulders down

Flowed his golden hair.

Gone was all their care.

—————————————

‘Follow me,’ he said;

‘Weep not for the maid;

In my palace deep,

Lyca lies asleep.’

—————————————

Then they followed

Where the vision led,

And saw their sleeping child

Among tigers wild.

—————————————

To this day they dwell

In a lonely dell,

Nor fear the wolvish howl

Nor the lion’s growl.

The Little Girl Found Audio and Text
01:36

A video lecture based on "The Little Girl Found" by William Blake.

The Little Girl Found Video Lecture
05:13

A quiz based on the text and video for "The Little Girl Found" by William Blake.

The Little Girl Found Quiz
1 question

The Chimney Sweeper


A little black thing among the snow,

Crying! ‘weep! weep!’ in notes of woe!

‘Where are thy father and mother? Say!’ -

‘They are both gone up to the church to pray.


‘Because I was happy upon the heath,

And smiled among the winter’s snow,

They clothed me in the clothes of death,

And taught me to sing the notes of woe.


‘And because I am happy and dance and sing,

They think they have done me no injury,

And are gone to praise God and His priest and king,

Who made up a heaven of our misery.’

The Chimney Sweeper Audio and Text
00:37

A video lecture based on "The Chimney Sweeper" by William Blake.

The Chimney Sweeper Video Lecture
05:13

A quiz based on the text and video for "The Chimney Sweeper" by William Blake.

The Chimney Sweeper Quiz
1 question

Nurse’s Song


When the voices of children are heard on the green

And whisp’rings are in the dale,

The days of my youth rise fresh in my mind,

My face turns green and pale.

———————————————————————

Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down,

And the dews of night arise;

Your spring & your day are wasted in play,

And your winter and night in disguise.

Nurse's Song Audio and Text
00:32

An audio footnote based on "Nurse's Song" by William Blake.

Nurse's Song Audio Footnote
00:44

The Sick Rose


O Rose, thou art sick!

The invisible worm

That flies in the night,

In the howling storm,

——————————

Has found out thy bed

Of crimson joy:

And his dark secret love

Does thy life destroy.

The Sick Rose Audio and Text
00:16

A video lecture based on "The Sick Rose" by William Blake.

The Sick Rose Video Lecture
11:09

A quiz based on the text and video for "The Sick Rose" by William Blake.

The Sick Rose Quiz
1 question

The Fly


Little Fly,

Thy summer’s play

My thoughtless hand

Has brush’d away.

—————————

Am not I

A fly like thee?

Or art not thou

A man like me?

—————————

For I dance,

And drink, & sing,

Till some blind hand

Shall brush my wing.

——————————

If thought is life,

And strength & breath,

And the want

Of thought is death;

———————————

Then am I

A happy fly,

If I live

or if I die.

The Fly Audio and Text
00:34

An audio footnote based on "The Fly" by William Blake.

The Fly Audio Footnote
00:54

The Angel


I dreamt a Dream! what can it mean!

And that I was a maiden Queen,

Guarded by an Angel mild:

Witless woe was ne’er beguil’d!

———————————————

And I wept both night and day,

And he wip’d my tears away,

And I wept both day and night,

And hid from him my heart’s delight.

————————————————

So he took his wings and fled;

Then the morn blush’d rosy red;

I dried my tears, & arm’d my fears

With ten thousand shields and spears.

—————————————————

Soon my Angel came again:

I was arm’d, he came in vain;

For the time of youth was fled,

And grey hairs were on my head.

The Angel Audio and Text
00:47

An audio footnote based on "The Angel" by William Blake.

The Angel Audio Footnote
00:41

The Tyger


Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

———————————————

In what distant deeps or skies

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand dare seize the fire?

————————————————

And what shoulder, & what art.

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand? & what dread feet?

——————————————————

What the hammer? what the chain?

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? what dread grasp

Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

———————————————————

When the stars threw down their spears,

And watered heaven with their tears,

Did he smile his work to see?

Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

————————————————————

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye

Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

The Tyger Audio and Text
01:02

A video lecture based on "The Tyger" by William Blake.

The Tyger Video Lecture
05:21

A quiz based on the text and video for "The Tyger" by William Blake.

The Tyger Quiz
1 question

My Pretty Rose Tree


A flower was offered to me,

Such a flower as May never bore;

But I said “I’ve a pretty rose tree,”

And I passed the sweet flower o’er.

————————————————

Then I went to my pretty rose tree,

To tend her by day and by night;

But my rose turned away with jealousy,

And her thorns were my only delight.

My Pretty Rose Tree Audio and Text
00:21

Ah Sun-Flower


Ah! sunflower, weary of time,

Who countest the steps of the sun,

Seeking after that sweet golden clime

Where the traveller’s journey is done;

——————————————————

Where the youth pined away with desire,

And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,

Arise from their graves and aspire;

Where my sunflower wishes to go.

Ah Sun-Flower Audio and Text
00:24

The Lilly


The modest Rose puts forth a thorn,

The humble sheep a threat’ning horn:

While the Lily white shall in love delight,

Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.

The Lilly Audio and Text
00:13

A video lecture based on "My Pretty Rose Tree," "Ah Sun-Flower" and "The Lilly" by William Blake.

My Pretty Rose Tree, Ah Sun-Flower, The Lilly Video Lecture
06:41

A quiz based on the texts and the video for "My Pretty Rose Tree," "Ah Sun-Flower," and "The Lilly" by William Blake.

My Pretty Rose Tree, Ah Sun-Flower, The Lilly Quiz
1 question

The Garden of Love


I went to the Garden of Love,

And saw what I never had seen:

A Chapel was built in the midst,

Where I used to play on the green.

—————————————————

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,

And “Thou shalt not” writ over the door;

So I turn’d to the Garden of Love,

That so many sweet flowers bore,

—————————————————

And I saw it was filled with graves,

And tomb-stones where flowers should be:

And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,

And binding with briars my joys and desires.

The Garden of Love Audio and Text
00:36

A video lecture based on "The Garden of Love" by William Blake.

The Garden of Love Video Lecture
05:51

A quiz based on the text and video for "The Garden of Love" by William Blake.

The Garden of Love Quiz
1 question

The Little Vagabond


Dear mother, dear mother, the Church is cold;

But the Alehouse is healthy, and pleasant, and warm.

Besides, I can tell where I am used well;

Such usage in heaven will never do well.

———————————————————————

But, if at the Church they would give us some ale,

And a pleasant fire our souls to regale,

We’d sing and we’d pray all the livelong day,

Nor ever once wish from the Church to stray.

————————————————————————

Then the Parson might preach, and drink, and sing,

And we’d be as happy as birds in the spring;

And modest Dame Lurch, who is always at church,

Would not have bandy children, nor fasting, nor birch.

————————————————————————

And God, like a father, rejoicing to see

His children as pleasant and happy as He,

Would have no more quarrel with the Devil or the barrel,

But kiss him, and give him both drink and apparel.

The Little Vagabond Audio and Text
01:01

An audio footnote based on "The Little Vagabond" by William Blake.

The Little Vagabond Audio Footnote
00:50

London


I wander thro’ each charter’d street,

Near where the charter’d Thames does flow,

And mark in every face I meet

Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

——————————————————

In every cry of every Man,

In every Infant’s cry of fear,

In every voice, in every ban,

The mind-forg’d manacles I hear.

————————————————

How the Chimney-sweeper’s cry

Every black’ning Church appalls;

And the hapless Soldier’s sigh

Runs in blood down Palace walls.

——————————————————

But most thro’ midnight streets I hear

How the youthful Harlot’s curse

Blasts the new born Infant’s tear,

And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.

London Audio and Text
00:53

A video lecture based on "London" by William Blake.

London Video Lecture
06:21

A quiz based on the text and video for "London" by William Blake.

London Quiz
1 question

The Human Abstract


Pity would be no more

If we did not make somebody Poor;

And Mercy no more could be

If all were as happy as we.

———————————————

And mutual fear brings peace,

Till the selfish loves increase:

Then Cruelty knits a snare,

And spreads his baits with care.

———————————————

He sits down with holy fears,

And waters the ground with tears;

Then Humility takes its root

Underneath his foot.

———————————————

Soon spreads the dismal shade

Of Mystery over his head;

And the Catterpiller and Fly

Feed on the Mystery.

———————————————

And it bears the fruit of Deceit,

Ruddy and sweet to eat;

And the Raven his nest has made

In its thickest shade.

————————————————

The Gods of the earth and sea

Sought thro’ Nature to find this Tree;

But their search was all in vain:

There grows one in the Human Brain.

The Human Abstract Audio and Text
01:00

An audio footnote based on "The Human Abstract" by William Blake.

The Human Abstract Audio Footnote
01:13

Infant Sorrow


My mother groaned, my father wept,

Into the dangerous world I leapt;

Helpless, naked, piping loud,

Like a fiend hid in a cloud.

———————————————

Struggling in my father’s hands,

Striving against my swaddling bands,

Bound and weary, I thought best

To sulk upon my mother’s breast.

Infant Sorrow Audio and Text
00:24

A video lecture based on "Infant Sorrow" by William Blake.

Infant Sorrow Video Lecture
04:03

A quiz based on the text and video for "Infant Sorrow" by William Blake.

Infant Sorrow Quiz
1 question

A Poison Tree


I was angry with my friend:

I told my wrath, my wrath did end.

I was angry with my foe:

I told it not, my wrath did grow.

———————————————

And I water’d it in fears,

Night & morning with my tears;

And I sunned it with smiles,

And with soft deceitful wiles.

———————————————

And it grew both day and night,

Till it bore an apple bright;

And my foe beheld it shine,

And he knew that it was mine,

———————————————

And into my garden stole

When the night had veil’d the pole:

In the morning glad I see

My foe outstretch’d beneath the tree.

A Poison Tree Audio and Text
00:48

An audio footnote based on "A Poison Tree" by William Blake.

A Poison Tree Audio Footnote
01:01

A Little Boy Lost


“Nought loves another as itself,

Nor venerates another so,

Nor is it possible to thought

A greater than itself to know.

————————————————

“And, father, how can I love you

Or any of my brothers more?

I love you like the little bird

That picks up crumbs around the door.”

—————————————————

The Priest sat by and heard the child;

In trembling zeal he seized his hair,

He led him by his little coat,

And all admired his priestly care.

—————————————————

And standing on the altar high,

“Lo, what a fiend is here!” said he:

“One who sets reason up for judge

Of our most holy mystery.”

—————————————————

The weeping child could not be heard,

The weeping parents wept in vain:

They stripped him to his little shirt,

And bound him in an iron chain,

—————————————————

And burned him in a holy place

Where many had been burned before;

The weeping parents wept in vain.

Are such things done on Albion’s shore?

A Little Boy Lost Audio and Text
00:58

A video lecture based on "A Little Boy Lost" by William Blake.

A Little Boy Lost Audio Footnote
00:38

A video lecture based on "A Little Boy Lost" by William Blake.

A Little Boy Lost Video Lecture
05:47

A quiz based on the text and video for "A Little Boy Lost" by William Blake.

A Little Boy Lost Quiz
1 question

A Little Girl Lost


Children of the future age,

Reading this indignant page,

Know that in a former time

Love, sweet love, was thought a crime.

—————————————————

In the age of gold,

Free from winter’s cold,

Youth and maiden bright,

To the holy light,

Naked in the sunny beams delight.

——————————————————

Once a youthful pair,

Filled with softest care,

Met in garden bright

Where the holy light Had just removed the curtains of the night.

——————————————————

There, in rising day,

On the grass they play

Parents were afar,

Strangers came not near,

And the maiden soon forgot her fear.

——————————————————

Tired with kisses sweet,

They agree to meet

When the silent sleep

Waves o’er heaven’s deep,

And the weary tired wanderers weep.

———————————————————

To her father white

Came the maiden bright;

But his loving look,

Like the holy book,

All her tender limbs with terror shook.

———————————————————

“Ona, pale and weak,

To thy father speak!

O the trembling fear!

O the dismal care

That shakes the blossoms of my hoary hair!”

A Little Girl Lost Audio and Text
01:10

A video lecture based on "A Little Girl Lost" by William Blake.

A Little Girl Lost Video Lecture
07:42

A quiz based on the text and video for "A Little Girl Lost" by William Blake.

A Little Girl Lost Quiz
1 question

To Tirzah


Whate’er is Born of Mortal Birth

Must be consumed with the Earth

To rise from Generation free:

Then what have I to do with thee?

—————————————————

The Sexes sprung from Shame & Pride,

Blow’d in the morn, in evening died;

But Mercy chang’d Death into Sleep;

The Sexes rose to work & weep.

—————————————————

Thou, Mother of my Mortal part,

With cruelty didst mould my Heart,

And with false self-deceiving tears

Didst bind my Nostrils, Eyes, & Ears:

——————————————————

Didst close my Tongue in senseless clay,

And me to Mortal Life betray.

The Death of Jesus set me free:

Then what have I to do with thee?

To Tirzah Audio and Text
00:45

A video lecture based on "To Tirzah" by William Blake.

To Tirzah Video Lecture
05:26

A quiz based on the text and video for "To Tirzah" by William Blake.

To Tirzah Quiz
1 question

The Schoolboy


I love to rise in a summer morn

When the birds sing on every tree;

The distant huntsman winds his horn,

And the sky-lark sings with me.

O! what sweet company.

————————————————

But to go to school in a summer morn,

O! it drives all joy away;

Under a cruel eye outworn,

The little ones spend the day

In sighing and dismay.

————————————————

Ah! then at times I drooping sit,

And spend many an anxious hour,

Nor in my book can I take delight,

Nor sit in learning’s bower,

Worn thro’ with the dreary shower.

————————————————

How can the bird that is born for joy

Sit in a cage and sing?

How can a child, when fears annoy,

But droop his tender wing,

And forget his youthful spring?

————————————————

O! father & mother, if buds are nip’d

And blossoms blown away,

And if the tender plants are strip’d

Of their joy in the springing day,

By sorrow and care’s dismay,

————————————————

How shall the summer arise in joy,

Or the summer fruits appear?

Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy,

Or bless the mellowing year,

When the blasts of winter appear?

The Schoolboy Audio and Text
01:20

An audio footnote based on "The Schoolboy" by William Blake.

The Schoolboy Audio Footnote
00:34

The Voice of the Ancient Bard


Youth of delight, come hither,

And see the opening morn,

Image of truth new born.

Doubt is fled, & clouds of reason,

Dark disputes & artful teazing.

Folly is an endless maze,

Tangled roots perplex her ways.

How many have fallen there!

They stumble all night over bones of the dead,

And feel they know not what but care,

And wish to lead others, when they should be led.

The Voice of the Ancient Bard Audio and Text
00:46

An audio footnote based on "The Voice of the Ancient Bard" by William Blake.

The Voice of the Ancient Bard Audio Footnote
01:11

Songs of Experience Quiz
27 questions
+
Additional Blake Works
10 Lectures 37:46

A bit of background information on additional works by William Blake.

Background
01:03

A video lecture based on the painting "Ancient of Days" (1794) by William Blake.

Blake Paintings: Ancient of Days Video Lecture
03:18

A video lecture based on the painting "The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve" (1826) by William Blake.

Blake Paintings: The Body of Abel Found by Adam and Eve Video Lecture
05:26

A video lecture based on the painting "Elohim Creating Adam" (1795) by William Blake.

Blake Paintings: Elohim Creating Adam Video Lecture
03:45

Auguries of Innocence

To see a world in a grain of sand

And a heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

And eternity in an hour.

A robin redbreast in a cage

Puts all heaven in a rage.

A dove-house filled with doves and pigeons

Shudders hell through all its regions.

A dog starved at his master’s gate

Predicts the ruin of the state.

A horse misused upon the road

Calls to heaven for human blood.

Each outcry of the hunted hare

A fibre from the brain does tear.

A skylark wounded in the wing,

A cherubim does cease to sing.

The game-cock clipped and armed for fight

Does the rising sun affright.

Every wolf’s and lion’s howl

Raises from hell a human soul.

The wild deer wandering here and there

Keeps the human soul from care.

The lamb misused breeds public strife,

And yet forgives the butcher’s knife.

The bat that flits at close of eve

Has left the brain that won't believe.

The owl that calls upon the night

Speaks the unbeliever’s fright.

He who shall hurt the little wren

Shall never be beloved by men.

He who the ox to wrath has moved

Shall never be by woman loved.

The wanton boy that kills the fly

Shall feel the spider’s enmity.

He who torments the chafer’s sprite

Weaves a bower in endless night.

The caterpillar on the leaf

Repeats to thee thy mother’s grief.

Kill not the moth nor butterfly,

For the Last Judgment draweth nigh.

He who shall train the horse to war

Shall never pass the polar bar.

The beggar’s dog and widow’s cat,

Feed them, and thou wilt grow fat.

The gnat that sings his summer's song

Poison gets from Slander’s tongue.

The poison of the snake and newt

Is the sweat of Envy’s foot.

The poison of the honey-bee

Is the artist’s jealousy.

The prince's robes and beggar’s rags

Are toadstools on the miser’s bags.

A truth that’s told with bad intent

Beats all the lies you can invent.

It is right it should be so:

Man was made for joy and woe;

And when this we rightly know

Through the world we safely go.

Joy and woe are woven fine,

A clothing for the soul divine.

Under every grief and pine

Runs a joy with silken twine.

The babe is more than swaddling bands,

Throughout all these human lands;

Tools were made and born were hands,

Every farmer understands.

Every tear from every eye

Becomes a babe in eternity;

This is caught by females bright

And returned to its own delight.

The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar

Are waves that beat on heaven’s shore.

The babe that weeps the rod beneath

Writes Revenge! in realms of death.

The beggar’s rags fluttering in air

Does to rags the heavens tear.

The soldier armed with sword and gun

Palsied strikes the summer’s sun.

The poor man’s farthing is worth more

Than all the gold on Afric’s shore.

One mite wrung from the labourer’s hands

Shall buy and sell the miser’s lands,

Or if protected from on high

Does that whole nation sell and buy.

He who mocks the infant’s faith

Shall be mocked in age and death.

He who shall teach the child to doubt

The rotting grave shall ne’er get out.

He who respects the infant’s faith

Triumphs over hell and death.

The child’s toys and the old man’s reasons

Are the fruits of the two seasons.

The questioner who sits so sly

Shall never know how to reply.

He who replies to words of doubt

Doth put the light of knowledge out.

The strongest poison ever known

Came from Caesar’s laurel crown.

Nought can deform the human race

Like to the armour’s iron brace.

When gold and gems adorn the plough

To peaceful arts shall Envy bow.

A riddle or the cricket’s cry

Is to doubt a fit reply.

The emmet’s inch and eagle’s mile

Make lame philosophy to smile.

He who doubts from what he sees

Will ne’er believe, do what you please.

If the sun and moon should doubt,

They’d immediately go out.

To be in a passion you good may do,

But no good if a passion is in you.

The whore and gambler, by the state

Licensed, build that nation's fate.

The harlot’s cry from street to street

Shall weave old England’s winding sheet.

The winner’s shout, the loser’s curse,

Dance before dead England’s hearse.

Every night and every morn

Some to misery are born.

Every morn and every night

Some are born to sweet delight.

Some are born to sweet delight,

Some are born to endless night.

We are led to believe a lie

When we see not through the eye

Which was born in a night to perish in a night,

When the soul slept in beams of light.

God appears, and God is light

To those poor souls who dwell in night,

But does a human form display

To those who dwell in realms of day.

Additional Blake Poetry: Auguries of Innocence Audio and Text
05:34

A video lecture based on the poem "Auguries of Innocence" by William Blake.

Additional Blake Poetry: Auguries of Innocence Video Lecture
06:39

A quiz based on the text and video lecture for "Auguries of Innocence" by William Blake.

Additional Blake Poetry: Auguries of Innocence Quiz
1 question

Mock on, Mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau


Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau;

Mock on, mock on; ‘tis all in vain!

You throw the sand against the wind,

And the wind blows it back again.

And every sand becomes a gem

Reflected in the beams divine;

Blown back they blind the mocking eye,

But still in Israel’s paths they shine.

————————————————

The Atoms of Democritus

And Newton’s Particles of Light

Are sands upon the Red Sea shore,

Where Israel’s tents do shine so bright.

Additional Blake Poetry: Mock on, Mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau Audio and Text
00:33

A video lecture based on the poem "Mock on, Mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau" by William Blake.

Additional Blake Poetry: Mock on, Mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau Video Lecture
04:33

Additional Blake Poetry: Mock on, Mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau Quiz
1 question

Jerusalem (from ‘Milton’)


Jerusalem did those feet in ancient time

Walk upon England’s mountains green?

And was the holy Lamb of God

On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

—————————————————

And did the Countenance Divine

Shine forth upon our clouded hills?

And was Jerusalem builded here

Among these dark Satanic Mills?

—————————————————

Bring me my bow of burning gold!

Bring me my arrows of desire!

Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!

Bring me my chariot of fire!

—————————————————

I will not cease from mental fight,

Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,

Till we have built Jerusalem

In England’s green and pleasant land.

Additional Blake Poetry: Jerusalem (from 'Milton') Audio and Text
00:39

A video lecture based on the poem "Jerusalem (from 'Milton')" by William Blake.

Additional Blake Poetry: Jerusalem (from 'Milton') Video Lecture
06:16

A quiz based on the text and video for "Jerusalem (from 'Milton')" by William Blake.

Additional Blake Poetry: Jerusalem (from 'Milton') Quiz
1 question
+
Conclusion
1 Lecture 02:45

A video lecture with concluding thoughts on the "Songs of Innocence" and the "Songs of Experience" by William Blake.

Conclusion video lecture
02:45
Frequently Bought Together
About the Instructor
William Lasseter
4.9 Average rating
65 Reviews
791 Students
8 Courses

Mr. Lasseter has more than fifteen years teaching experience. He holds both a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Dallas. He has an accomplished professional background, including directing the men’s chant choir at the University of Dallas and producing and directing various dramatic performances in Irving, Texas. Mr. Lasseter currently serves as a teacher of high school literature.