The Garden Of Love Essay Sample

Essay about Analysis of Poem, The Garden of Love

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Analysis of Poem, The Garden of Love from William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience

Blake’s poems are divided into two sections, Songs of Experience and Songs of Innocence. Under Songs of Innocence, Blake seems to present his readers with innocence as freedom from sin, moral wrong, and guilt. In Songs of Experience, Blake seems to present the faults and sufferings of mankind.

Innocence and experience are contradictory viewpoints. When one is innocent, one is not aware, therefore one is lacking experience. Experience, on the other hand, is having knowledge and knowing what to expect. In "The Garden of Love," experience and innocence are symbiotic dichotomies. The experience is issuing from the speaker’s statement of being…show more content…

The "Garden of Love" contains three stanzas, of which all are written in iambic meter, meaning the line begins with an unstressed syllable, followed by a stressed syllable with a beat. Each stanza contains four lines. In the first stanza the active construction signifies the action is done by the speaker of the poem: "I went to the Garden of Love" (1). The third line of the first stanza, on the other hand, is passive because we don’t know who built the Chapel: "A Chapel was built in the midst."

The relation of experience with active and passive constructions helps the reader to clarify if there has been experience. As noted in this passage, the only experience the speaker of the poem has is with the garden. There is a possibility that the first time he had been to the "Garden of Love" the Chapel was there but he never saw it. Or he did see it but he didn’t want to accept it. This is not simply a Song of Experience; innocence and experience co-exist.

In the second stanza, the speaker of the poet identifies the gates of the Chapel being shut. There is a command written on the door, "And Thou shalt not, writ over the door" (6). The words "gates," "shut," and "door" are all stressed syllables with beats. These stressed words signify that the speaker may be contemplating his entrance to the Chapel. His usage of the word "turn’d" (7) as a

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The speaker visits a garden that he had frequented in his youth, only to find it overrun with briars, symbols of death in the form of tombstones, and close-minded clergy.


"The Garden of Love" is a deceptively simple three-stanza poem made up of quatrains. The first two quatrains follow Blake's typical ABCB rhyme scheme, with the final stanza breaking the rhyme to ABCD. The lack of rhyme in the last stanza, which also contains the longest lines, serves to emphasize the death and decay that have overtaken a place that once used to hold such life and beauty for the speaker.

Following the specific examples of flowers representing types of love, this poem paints a broader picture of flowers in a garden as the joys and desires of youth. When the speaker returns to the Garden of Love, he finds a chapel built there with the words, “Thou shalt not,” written overhead. The implication is that organized religion is intentionally forbidding people from enjoying their natural desires and pleasures.

The speaker also finds the garden given over to the graves of his pleasures while a black-clad priest binds his “joys and desires” in thorns. This not-so-subtle critique shows Blake’s frustration at a religious system that would deny men the pleasures of nature and their own instinctive desires. He sees religion as an arm of modern society in general, with its demand that human beings reject their created selves to conform to a more mechanistic and materialistic world.

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