Poem #33: The Ecchoing Green by William Blake

This week’s reading selection of William Blake’s poetry is taken from Songs of Innocence (1789).  My favorites among the selection are On Another’s Sorrow and The Ecchoing Green.  Today, I feature the latter.  The Echoing Green is a six-line poem.  It follows the structure of a day – ‘the sun does arise’ in the 1st stanza and ‘the sun does descend’ in the 3rd stanza. Blake uses the color green to denote youth in the earlier stanza but in the third stanza, the color, and hence the poem, acquires a darker meaning.  Blake wrote this during a period of hardship in England.  He seems to want to reach out to people and to hold on to a period of innocence.  A cycle of life poem with the third stanza indicating aging and perhaps, death?  Lots of different types of sounds (from children, adult, bells, nature) are in the poem. This poem’s use of color, sounds and imagery is really a feast for our senses.  Enjoy!

THE ECCHOING 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 sport no more seen
On the darkening 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 and boys—
In our youth-time were seen
On the echoing green.’

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6 comments

    • Well, I hadn’t heard of it before reading it for the Romantics project. If you are so inclined, you should take a look at ‘On Another’s Sorrow’.

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  1. Beautiful poem Kinna! I haven’t read this poem by Blake before. Thanks for posting it. Have you read a collection called ‘The Golden Treasury’ compiled by Francis Turner Palgrave? It has a wonderful selection of poems from the romantic era.

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