What literary devices are there in "Spring" by William Blake?

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Blake uses a refrain at the end of each stanza. A refrain is phrase that is repeated in a poem, prayer, or song. Repeating the phrase "Merrily, merrily to welcome in the year" helps to emphasize the point that spring is an uplifting time of year when things are "springing" into life. 

The reference to the "flute" in the first line suggests the songs of the birds (and the children's voices in the second stanza). But it is also an allusion to the Greek God Pan who played a flute and was associated with nature and the wild. Pan is also associated with fertility and the spring season. "Sound the flute" is a statement that signifies the start of spring and the allusion to Pan is almost like a request for a blessing from the gods and/or God. 

The "lamb" in the third stanza is an allusion to Jesus. The association between Jesus and the lamb represents innocence. This notion of innocence connects with the children of the previous stanza. The language in this third stanza also suggests sensuality. In that respect, one could say that such language ("lick" and "kiss") is figurative as well as literal. The common link between the themes of innocence and sensuality is the idea of awakening. The spring is a time of awakening and Blake cleverly combines notions of spring, innocence, and sensuality with this concept in mind. 

Read the study guide:
Songs of Innocence and of Experience

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