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By John H. Jones (auth.)

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Additional info for Blake on Language, Power, and Self-Annihilation

Sample text

Then come home my children, the sun is gone down And the dews of night arise Your spring & your day, are wasted in play And your winter and night in disguise. 1–8, E 23) 28 Blake on Language, Power, and Self-Annihilation The laughing of the children in the Innocence version has turned to whisperings in this version, indicating that much of what the nurse hears is inaudible or incomprehensible. The way that innocence anthropomorphizes and unifies the world through language is incomprehensible to the Nurse of Experience.

In both companion poems, “The Little Boy Found” and “The Little Girl Found,” dialogue is restored as the children are Songs of Innocence and of Experience 41 returned to their parents but only through acts of supernatural intervention, suggesting both the urgency of the need for dialogue and the improbability of its restoration. Many speakers of the Songs, such as those in “The Chimney Sweeper” of Innocence and “The Little Black Boy,” hope for supernatural or divine intervention that will restore dialogue, but as they confidently express the eventual fulfillment of their hopes, the reader notices, more gravely than do the speakers, that the possibility for divine intervention comes only after death.

By investing his linguistic construct, his discourse, with “holy fears,” he gives it the authority of religion, which is used to produce humility in those who are ensnared by this discourse. Humility, in the strategy of social control, requires listeners to accept the discourse of Cruelty without questioning or critiquing it, leaving a “shade of Mystery” about the discourse: Then Humility takes its root Underneath his foot. Soon spreads the dismal shade Of Mystery over his head; And the Catterpiller and Fly, Feed on the Mystery.

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