"The Echoing Green" is from William Blake's 1789 collection of poems called Songs of Innocence. The poem is Romantic in its simple diction, celebration of the simple lives lived close to the natural world, and the depiction of innocent childhood experiences as recalled by an adult speaker.
The Romantic poets made it a point to write in the language of the common person, and Blake does so in this poem. Simple images like "merry bells ring" conjure a village community in words anyone can understand. The simple schema of rhyming couplets gives the poem a sing-song, comforting, nursery rhyme quality.
What the speaker remembers is an idealized springtime pastoral world in the rural England of yesteryear. The thrush and the skylark sing, while "Old John" sits under a tree and watches the children play. Childhood innocence is...
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