The Notebook of William Blake - Folio N113 and N112
Copyright © The British Library Board
N113 & N112
As with many of the folios in the notebook, Blake has revised the verses on this
page on more than one occasion, as the different types of ink he used make clear.
The stanzas beginning 'Why should I care for the men of thames' mark the beginning
of a more overtly political tone to the poems. The highly charged atmosphere following
the Royal Proclamation against seditious writings of 1792 is reflected in the
'blasts of fear' and the use of the word 'chartered'- a reference to Paine's radical
criticism in Rights of Man (1791-92).
Blake revised much of 'Infant Sorrow' - a contrary to 'Infant Joy' in Songs
of Innocence - on this folio. When it was eventually etched, it ran to two
stanzas, and much of the original work was omitted. The lines were not forgotten,
however, as Blake constantly reworked his verses, often reassigning lines or phrases
from older poems to new works.
This sideways pencil sketch on folio N112 shows Satan with a shield and spear, another example of Blake's early sketches for his illustrations to 'Paradise Lost'.
We have used the published version for the reading of this poem 'Infant Sorrow' from Songs of Experience
for the audio.