Page:Shelley, a poem, with other writings (Thomson, Debell).djvu/132

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114
THE POEMS OF WILLIAM BLAKE.

them; they are alone in our language, which they glorify by revealing its unsuspected treasures of heavenly innocence and purity. I transcribe one of the shortest of them, Infant Joy; a sudden throb of maternal rapture which we should have thought inarticulate—expressible only by kisses and caresses and wordless cradle-crooning—marvellously caught up and rendered into Song.

"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.

Pretty joy!
Sweet joy, but two days old,
Sweet joy I call thee:
Thou dost smile,
I sing the while,
Sweet joy befall thee.

Five years later come the Songs of Experience, and the singer is an older child, and even a youth, but not yet a man. The experience is that of a sensitive and thoughtful boy, troubled by the first perceptions of evil where he has believed all good, thinking the whole world cruel and false since some playmate-friend has turned unkind, seeing life all desolate and blank since some coveted object has disappointed in the possession; in short, through very lack of experience, generalising one untoward event into a theory of life that seems more bitterly hopeless than grey-haired cynical pessimism. Even the Garden of Love, The Human Abstract, The Two Songs, To Tirzah, and Christian Forbearance (one of the keenest arrows of Beelzebub shot straight back with wounding scorn at the evil archer), are not in thought and experi-