The Ecchoing Green - Synopsis and commentary

Synopsis of The Ecchoing Green

The Ecchoing Green

Spring has come, signified by birdsong and ringing bells, and children are playing on the village green. The old men and women enjoy watching the children, reminded of their own childhood. Eventually the little children tire, the sun goes down and the children are ready for rest round their mothers' knees.

Blake may be referring here to the day every spring when children were brought to play on Wimbledon Common. The poem continues the pastoral theme already established in the Songs of Innocence, looking at harmony between nature and human beings, as well as harmony between young and old. He introduces the image of ‘the green', which will be used in various ways throughout the entire sequence.


This appears to be a simple celebration of:

  • The carefree life of the child and the value of play, from the perspective of the child
  • Harmony between generations; the old people rejoice in the play of the children
  • Good parents; mothers are safe and welcome resting-places for the tired children.

There are hints, however, that this is not a complete view:

  • The old people's memories remind us that childhood freedom does not last forever. The repetition of ‘Such, such' has hints of lament that these days are gone
  • The closing phrase ‘the darkening Green' seems to cast a shadow. Just as the day does not last, neither does this childhood innocence. ‘Darkening' is an aspect of life also.

Investigating relationships

  • What words would you use to describe the relationship between old and young in this poem?
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