Auguries of Innocence

Auguries of Innocence

by William Blake

 To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
A Robin Red breast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage
A Dove house filld with Doves & Pigeons
Shudders Hell thr’ all its regions
A dog sta­rvd at his Masters Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State
A Horse misusd upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fibre from the Brain does tear
A Skylark wounded in the wing
A Cherubim does cease to sing
The Game Cock clipd & armd for fight
Does the Rising Sun affright
Every Wolfs & Lions howl
Raises from Hell a Human Soul
The wild deer, wandring here & there
Keeps the Human Soul from Care
The Lamb misusd breeds Public Strife
And yet forgives the Butchers knife
The Bat that flits at close of Eve
Has left the Brain that wont Believe
The Owl that calls upon the Night
Speaks the Unbelievers fright
He who shall hurt the little Wren
Shall never be belovd by Men
He who the Ox to wrath has movd
Shall never be by Woman lovd
The wanton Boy that kills the Fly
Shall feel the Spiders enmity
He who torments the Chafers Sprite
Weaves a Bower in endless Night
The Catterpiller on the Leaf
Repeats to thee thy Mothers grief
Kill not the Moth nor Butterfly
For the Last Judgment draweth nigh
He who shall train the Horse to War
Shall never pass the Polar Bar
The Beggars Dog & Widows Cat
Feed them & thou wilt grow fat
The Gnat that sings his Summers Song
Poison gets from Slanders tongue
The poison of the Snake & Newt
Is the sweat of Envys Foot
The poison of the Honey Bee
Is the Artists Jealousy
The Princes Robes & Beggars Rags
Are Toadstools on the Misers Bags
A Truth thats told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent
It is right it should be so
Man was made for Joy & Woe
And when this we rightly know
Thro the World we safely go
Joy & Woe are woven fine
A Clothing for the soul divine
Under every grief & pine
Runs a joy with silken twine
The Babe is more than swadling Bands
Throughout all these Human Lands
Tools were made & Born were hands
Every Farmer Understands
Every Tear from Every Eye
Becomes a Babe in Eternity
This is caught by Females bright
And returnd to its own delight
The Bleat the Bark Bellow & Roar
Are Waves that Beat on Heavens Shore
The Babe that weeps the Rod beneath
Writes Revenge in realms of Death
The Beggars Rags fluttering in Air
Does to Rags the Heavens tear
The Soldier armd with Sword & Gun
Palsied strikes the Summers Sun
The poor Mans Farthing is worth more
Than all the Gold on Africs Shore
One Mite wrung from the Labrers hands
Shall buy & sell the Misers Lands
Or if protected from on high
Does that whole Nation sell & buy
He who mocks the Infants Faith
Shall be mockd in Age & Death
He who shall teach the Child to Doubt
The rotting Grave shall neer get out
He who respects the Infants faith
Triumphs over Hell & Death
The Childs Toys & the Old Mans Reasons
Are the Fruits of the Two seasons
The Questioner who sits so sly
Shall never know how to Reply
He who replies to words of Doubt
Doth put the Light of Knowledge out
The Strongest Poison ever known
Came from Caesars Laurel Crown
Nought can Deform the Human Race
Like to the Armours iron brace
When Gold & Gems adorn the Plow
To peaceful Arts shall Envy Bow
A Riddle or the Crickets Cry
Is to Doubt a fit Reply
The Emmets Inch & Eagles Mile
Make Lame Philosophy to smile
He who Doubts from what he sees
Will neer Believe do what you Please
If the Sun & Moon should Doubt
Theyd immediately Go out
To be in a Passion you Good may Do
But no Good if a Passion is in you
The Whore & Gambler by the State
Licencd build that Nations Fate
The Harlots cry from Street to Street
Shall weave Old Englands winding Sheet
The Winners Shout the Losers Curse
Dance before dead Englands Hearse
Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born
Every Morn and every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight
Some are Born to sweet delight
Some are Born to Endless Night
We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see not Thro the Eye
Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light
God Appears & God is Light
To those poor Souls who dwell in Night
But does a Human Form Display
To those who Dwell in Realms of day

Summary of Auguries of Innocence 

  • Popularity of “Auguries of Innocence”: William Blake, a famous English poet, wrote ‘Auguries of Innocence’. It is a description of cruelties and barbarism against innocent creatures and how they do not augur well for human beings. ‘Augur’ means to be a sign of, especially good or bad things in the future. It was first published in 1863. The poem highlights the corruption and inhumanity rooted deep in the world. The poet, very artistically, presents the conflict between vices and virtues.
  • “Auguries of Innocence” Criticism on the World: The poem encompasses the moral, spiritual and philosophical beliefs of the poet. His ideas about injustice, divinity, and innocence are very intense. The poem explains the idea of seemingly small acts and highly significant and profound impacts on the person engaged. He argues how human loses innocence which results in the downfall of the world. Throughout the poem, he has used animal imagery to show the ruthless, miserable and corrupt traits of mankind, which has made humanity stand at the verge of chaos. Therefore, only God can save humanity in this world and the world hereafter.
  • Major Themes in “Auguries of Innocence”: Nature, injustice, innocence, and inequality are some of the major themes of the poem. The poem presents the poet’s lamentation on man’s loss of innocence and advancement toward corruption, cruelty, and The poet has used animal imagery throughout the poem to criticize the existence of misconducts in the world. It is due to these practices the people are committing deadly sins. To him, innocence and God’s grace can only help us survive in this grim scenario.

 Analysis of Literary Devices in “Auguries of Innocence”

 literary devices serve as tools the writers use to enrich their poetic or literary pieces. Blake has also used some literary devices to project his ideas. The analysis of the devices used in this poem has been given below.

  1. Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /oo/ in “To those poor Souls who dwell in Night”.
  2. Personification: Personification is to give human attributes to non-human things. For example, “The Game Cock clipd & armd for fight”.
  3. Paradox: Paradox is a statement that appears to be self-contradictory or silly, but may include a hidden truth. For example,

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”

4. Consonance: Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /t/ in “The rotting Grave shall neer get out”.

5. Metaphor: It is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between the objects different in nature. For example, “To see a World in a Grain of Sand”, implying small things can encompass a large whole. Similarly, “And Heaven in a Wild Flower” presents the beauty of heaven through nature.

6. Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings different from literal meanings. For example, “A dog starvd at his Masters Gate”, “A Horse misusd upon the Road” and “The Lamb misusd breeds Public Strife”.

7. Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same lines such as the sound of /b/ in “The Bleat the Bark Bellow & Roar”.

8. Imagery: Imagery is used to make readers perceive things involving their five senses. This poem is rich with visual imagery such as, “The Babe that weeps the Rod beneath”, “The Princes Robes & Beggars Rags” and “A Dove house filled with Doves & Pigeons”.

Analysis of Poetic Devices in “Auguries of Innocence”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem. 

  1. Quatrain: Quatrain is a four-lined stanza borrowed from Persian poetry. Here, only the first stanza is quatrain.
  2. Rhyme Scheme: The rhyme scheme followed by the entire poem is ABABCC.
  3. Iambic Tetrameter: It is a type of meter having four iambs per line. The poem comprises iambic tetrameter such as,The bat that flits at close of eve.”
  4. Repetition: There is a repetition of the line, “Some are Born to sweet delight” which has created a musical quality in the poem.
  5. Refrain: The lines that are repeated at some distance in the poems are called refrain. The line, “Some are Born to sweet delight” is repeated with the same words, it has become a refrain as it has been repeated in the final part of the poem.

Quotes to be Used

The lines stated below can be used when praising the beauty of enchanting nature.

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour”