These two poems, Infant Joy and Infant Sorrow, contrast being born to innocence and being born to experience. In Infant Joy, all signs of trouble have been removed from the state of innocence. Enclosed within the heart of a blossom the infant radiates the joy which he symbolizes.
Songs of Innocence
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!
Sweet joy but two days old,
Sweet joy I call thee;
Thou dost smile.
I sing the while
Sweet joy befall thee."
The infant of experience is not passive nor does he enter a gentle world designed to suit his needs. He wails and struggles, strives and leaps. The world of experience demands more from the infant but offers the consolation of the mother's breast.
Songs of Experience
Songs of Innocence & of Experience, Song 48, (E 28)
"INFANT SORROW My mother groand! my father wept. Into the dangerous world I leapt: Helpless, naked, piping loud; Like a fiend hid in a cloud. Struggling in my fathers hands: Striving against my swadling bands: Bound and weary I thought best To sulk upon my mothers breast."
The babe of Infant Sorrow is no ordinary child. Like Orc or Hercules he bursts into the world making an effort to free himself from constraints. Entry into the state of Experience resembles entry into the state of adolescence, whereas entering Innocence is equivalent to entering childhood.
The setting of the image for Innocence is within the world of vision or imagination, while experience is placed in a realistic setting appropriate for our world of generation.