|British Museum |
Pan teaching a boy to play on the pipes
The satyr Pan is not an innocent character. The pipe which bears his name was contrived in a moment of anger when the Nymph he hoped to possess was turned into a reed. He repented of his wrath at having broken the reed into segments by constructing the pieces into a pipe for making music. The young Blake's picture, however, captured the innocent side of Pan, the patron of shepherds, instructing a boy in the art of playing the Pan Pipe by blowing over the openings of the reeds.
Blake began the Songs of Innocence by adopting the role of the shepherd teaching a song to a child and preparing to write his songs with a makeshift reed pen.
Songs of Innocence, Plate 4, (E 7) "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 vanish'd from my sight. And I pluck'd a hollow reed. And I made a rural pen, And I stain'd the water clear, And I wrote my happy songs Every child may joy to hear Plate 5 The Shepherd.
How sweet is the Shepherds sweet lot,
|Yale Center for British Art|
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."
Near the end of Four Zoas the peace of innocence was returned. Mankind had learned through experience to re-assimilate the broken pieces of his psyche and live in harmony recognizing that everything that lives is holy.
Four Zoas, Night IX,Page ( E 403)
"The song arose to the Golden feast the
Eternal Man rejoicd
Then the Eternal Man said Luvah the Vintage
is ripe arise
The sons of Urizen shall gather the vintage
with sharp hooks
And all thy sons O Luvah bear away the
families of Earth
I hear the flail of Urizen his barns are full
Remains & in the Vineyards stand
the abounding sheaves beneath
The falling Grapes that odorous burst upon the winds.
Arise My flocks & herds trample the Corn my cattle browze upon
The ripe Clusters The shepherds shout for Luvah prince of Love
Let the Bulls of Luvah tread the Corn & draw the loaded waggon
Into the Barn while children glean the Ears around the door
Then shall they lift their innocent hands & stroke his furious nose
And he shall lick the little girls white neck & on her head
Scatter the perfume of his breath while from his mountains high The lion of terror shall come down & bending his bright mane And couching at their side shall eat from the curld boys white lap His golden food and in the evening sleep before the Door"