Songs of Innocence and of Experience

how does blake expose the hypocrisy of the benevolent in the poem holy thursday

holy thursday (william blake)

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Blake closes with the warning to “cherish pity; lest you drive and angel from your door,” a statement that seems out of place on the surface. When compared to the Biblical account of the angels’ visit to Lot in the city of Sodom, however, the driving away of an angel at the door becomes a more sobering image. Lot, alone of all the denizens of Sodom, offered the angels, who were disguised as travelers, hospitality in a city full of dangers for the unwary visitor. His pity for his guests results in his own family’s rescue from the destruction about to strike the wicked city. Similarly, the reader is encouraged to “cherish pity” even in the midst of a sin-stricken and cynical system that would use a parade of poor children as a show of public virtue.