The Echoing Green

The sun does arise,
And make happy the skies;
The merry bells ring
To welcome the spring;
The skylark and thrush,
The birds of the bush,
Sing louder around
To the bell's cheerful sound,
While our sports shall be seen
On the Echoing Green.

Old John with white hair,
Does laugh away care,
Sitting under the oak,
Among the old folk.
They laugh at our play,
And soon they all say:
'Such, such were the joys
When we all, girls and boys,
In our youth time were seen
On the Echoing Green.'

Till the little ones, weary,
No more can be merry;
The sun does descend,
And our sports have an end.
Round the laps of their mothers
Many sisters and brother,
Like birds in their nest,
Are ready for rest,
And sport no more seen
On the darkening Green.
.

by William Blake

Comments (1)

Blake’s poem celebrates the traditional rural community, before poverty and the industrial revolution drove agricultural workers in droves to seek jobs in smoky impersonal cities. The mood is happy and carefree, celebrating a close bond between man and nature (stanza one.) The young play alongside the old (stanza two) who are reminded of their own youth as they sit and watch them contentedly on the village green, which echoes to the human voices and activities linking present to past. The last verse suggests both the end of the day and the end of a distinctive way of life. Blake uses rhyming couplets throughout, and the result is a joyous poem that celebrates a country community bound together by the simplest of shared pleasures.