The Divine Image - Language, tone and structure

Language and tone

Like many of Blake's poems in this sequence, the effects produced by the language depend upon the use of a limited vocabulary and repetition, which suggest the limitations of the child's speech. This effect is also amplified by the frequent use of ‘and' to suggest a child's way of writing.

Structure and versification

The poem is comprised of five ballad stanzas - quatrains in which the lines have four and three beats alternately and rhyme ABCB. This stanza form, in English poetry, suggests openness and simplicity. It is often found in songs, hymns, and nursery rhymes.

The lilting rhythm, the frequent repetition of words, along with phrases about praying in distress, giving thanks and references to God, all combine to create the poem's hymn-like quality.

Investigating structure and versification

  • Find another example of a ballad and compare it with this poem
    • What similarities in sound and rhythm can you find?
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