The Blossom - Synopsis and commentary


The Blossom

The speaker, who is perhaps a tree's ‘happy blossom' or a young female observer, describes how a carefree sparrow seeks its nest / shelter under the tree's green leaves. However, for a robin, the tree appears to be a place of sorrow.

This is the first of Blake's poems using the image of a flower to represent different aspects of existence. Some critics see this poem as a poem about sexual experience. This is certainly true of Blake's use of the flower in Songs of Experience but this is much more open to question here.


Sparrows are traditionally associated with carefree survival, robins with warmth and compassion. Blake assumes his readers know this, even though the poem's speaker does not. It seems as though the innocent voice of the poem rejoices in the external appearance of the birds – ‘merry sparrow!', ‘pretty robin!' - without distinguishing between them. The carefree sparrow and the compassionate robin, despite its sobbing, have the same welcome. Blake thus portrays innocence as ignorant: it exists in a world that includes reasons for sobbing and for compassion of which it is unaware.

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