Infant Joy by William Blake

“Infant Joy” is a poem written by the English poet William Blake. It was first published as part of his collection “Songs of Innocence” in 1789 and is the counterpart to “Infant Sorrow”, which was published at a later date in “Songs of Experience” in 1794.

‘I have no name;
I am but two days old.’
What shall I call thee?
‘I happy am,
Joy is my name.’
Sweet joy befall thee!

Pretty joy!
Sweet joy, but two days old.
Sweet Joy I call thee:
Thou dost smile,
I sing the while;
Sweet joy befall thee!

Yesterday I went to an exhibition of William Blake’s poetry, paintings and manuscripts and was intrigued. Many of his works were small – almost miniatures – but beautifully rendered and decorated nonetheless. His strong faith in God fueled his art. The poem “Infant Joy” is touching in its simplicity. Children, like pets, are a blessing from God, bringing to mind the following scripture:

Psalm 127:3-5
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

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