Summary of Blake’s Poem “Cradle Song”

The Summary of the poem “Cradle Song” by William
Blake This is a lullaby in the form of poetry. A lullaby is commonly sung by a mother to
help the child fall asleep much quicker. It is also very entertaining for the child. However, the accompanying plate depicts the
mother watching over her new-born baby under the soft shading of a large tree. In this poem ‘song’ is the part of the
title. Besides, the simple ‘aabb ccdd eeff’ rhyming
scheme also indicates that Blake wants this lyric to be sung. On a deeper level, Blake is reaching out to
glorify the natural world, within which we live, in the face of a more subjective heaven,
where the Gods reside. There is a revealing humanistic ‘heavenly’
innocence and purity that the mother praises in the child who holds “secret joys and secret
smiles.” Notice how the “infant’s smiles and wiles”
is capable of beguiling both heaven and earth alike. Analysis “Cradle Song” is often praised as a perfect
balance between thought and emotion, capturing the mother’s joy and love for her child while
at the same time expressing her largest fears and meditation on the child’s future role
in man’s world. The ending of the fourth stanza is perhaps
the strongest example of the mother’s fear, certainty, and gloom that one day her child’s
“little heart [will] wake” and when that happens, “the dreadful lightnings break.” Blake’s repeated theme of passing from innocence
to experience is obvious in this sweet lullaby. The speaker is at peace with her child and
situation at the beginning of the poem. The personification placed on “little sorrows”
who “sit and weep” during the night is representative of the peace found in night, the period of
innocence in Blake’s constant-running imagery of oppositions between night and day, and
suggests the passing of the child from one world (harmful earth) to the next (safe heaven). But notice when morning breaks in line 10,
the tranquillity is “stolen” from the child, and “cunning wiles” begin to creep into the
child’s heart (the mother even refers to the morning as “dreadful”). Overall, the poem can be read as a metaphor
for the mother’s awareness and inability to alter or stop her child from growing up in
this world and losing all of his/her innocence. The first half of the poem is a snapshot of
how peaceful and joyful the sleeping babe is, but “youthful harvesting” is inevitable,
and the mother is left saddened at the fact that while her child may “beguile both heaven
and earth” at the moment, it is only a temporary serenity, and it will not be long before all
purity and innocence is lost. Thanks for watching. Please subscribe to my channel.

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