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 cheer.
"Piper, pipe that song again;"
So I piped: he wept to hear.
"Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe;
Sing thy songs of happy cheer!"
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 plucked 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.
It is not uncommon for critics to claim that William
Blake's The Songs of Innocence dramatize the naive hopes
and fears that inform the lives of children and trace their transformation
as the child grows into adulthood." Similarly it is held that
"the poems are written from the perspective of children, (see
Lamb) while others are about children as seen from an adult
However in 1947, Northrop Frye, discussed children
and childhood as two components of Blake's conception of innocence.
He asserts that "real children are not symbols of innocence. . .
. One finds a great deal more than innocence in any child: there
is childish as well as the childlike"
This Chocolate Box is dedicated to exploring childhood,
checking out the classic symbols of innocence and searching for
It is more than likely a truth that childhood is
a state or phase of imaginative existence, the phase in which the
world of imagination is still a brave new world and yet reassuring
and intelligible. If this is the case I want to learn more about
the key characteristics and potentiality of this phase and use key
elements to enhance my own and your creativity.
1. Take the time to create a special journal to record
your findings as we explore the anatomy of childhood. But be cautioned,
life for children is not all joy and innocence and we need to be
prepared to look within the shadows and under stones if we are to
get all the answers. Do not make the mistake of romanticising this
phase and, in doing so, miss the real treasure that is to be gleaned
from the exploration.
Girl by Aletta Mes