Infant Joy - Synopsis and commentary

Synopsis of Infant Joy

Infant Joy

The poem is read by most critics as an imaginary dialogue between a new born baby and its mother. The baby is asserting that its name, and, therefore, its nature, is joy. The mother wishes that joy will continue to characterise the infant's life.


Many critics see the poem's dialogue as a lullaby a mother is singing to her newborn child. She assumes both their voices. The child's words celebrates the baby's present innocence and joy (‘I happy am'). Her response:

‘Sweet joy befall thee'

is both a blessing and a recognition that what may befall the baby will include other, less joyful, experiences.

Some critics also remind us that Blake wrote at a time of very high infant mortality. Many children died a few days after birth, so that the mother's wish for future joy may also include her awareness of mortality.

Investigating Infant Joy

  • Compare the attitudes of the mother in this poem with the mother in Cradle Song.
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