"Love Seeketh Only Self To Please"

Context: When Blake published Songs of Experience in the same volume with Songs of Innocence, he added the significant subtitle: Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul. Professor Ernest Bernbaum remarks: "In this second state, Man and his World have fallen away from their original innocence and joy. Materialism is a barrier against their return. To childhood, experience often proves dark, cruel, sinister, or tyrannous"–Anthology of Romanticism (1948), p. 1088. In this lyric the idealistic state of innocence concerning love is voiced by the Clod, with the cynical, cold, and realistic reply of experience spoken by the Pebble. To the Clod's assertion that love is selfless and self-sacrificing, the Pebble replies that, in reality, love is selfish and sadistic:

"Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself has any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair."
So sung a little Clod of Clay,
Trodden with the cattle's feet,
But a Pebble of the brook
Warbled out these metres meet:
"Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another's loss of ease,
And builds a Hell in Heaven's despite."