What elements of the introduction to Songs of Experience by William Blake fit in with Blake’s being a Romantic poet?

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ognesperanza eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Blake was a forerunner to Romanticism -a movement which was marked primarily by its rejection of enlightenment ideologies and scientific methods, as well as its emphasis on the natural world, emotion, artistry and the personal.  The Romantic period was also referred to as the 'Renaissance of Wonder' in which the natural world and human civilisation are built upon the ideas of love and beauty.  An expression he attempts to put across in the Introduction through the obvious fascination with the natural world and religion.  This poem goes on to detail Blakes rejection of the withering of the human spirit by being forced to conform to rules and doctrines. 

Like many Romantic poems, Blake's work takes the form of a vision, with the bard, who is capable of seeing ' Present, Past, & Future' calling forth the verse that will come after.  Blake is the bard and in the Romantic model the poem is an expression of his personal artistry. 

The Introduction also contains the reimagining of religion that is found in many Romantic poets, with references to 'The Holy Word' and the soul, with the Holy Word, taking on the capitalisation found in references to religious texts, just as Bible, Father, and Him, all take capitalisation in religious contexts. 

Romantic poetry was often marked with strong emotional expression, here the repetitious phrases, or anaphora, are used to highlight the strength of emotion being expressed by Blake.  Such as:

O Earth O Earth return!
Arise from out the dewy grass...

The Romantics featured heavily natural imagery with the natural world as a rejuvinating force, found in this extract in such lines as ' And fallen fallen light renew!' and the verse

Night is worn,
And the morn
Rises from the slumberous mass.

In these extracts the light of morning has a rejuvenating functions, preparing the reader to what follows. 

This freedom of expression and rejection of formulaic approaches (scientific method) can be said to be expressed in the different line lengths, there is still rhyme but the lines are not simply couplets and they vary in length fom 3 words 'The Holy Word,' to 6  ' That walk'd among the ancient trees.'

Read the study guide:
Songs of Innocence and of Experience

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