Songs of Innocence and of Experience

Songs of Innocence and of Experience Summary and Analysis of "The Lamb"


The speaker, identifying himself as a child, asks a series of questions of a little lamb, and then answers the questions for the lamb. He asks if the lamb knows who made it, who provides it food to eat, or who gives it warm wool and a pleasant voice.

The speaker then tells the lamb that the one who made it is also called “the Lamb” and is the creator of both the lamb and the speaker. He goes on to explain that this Creator is meek and mild, and Himself became a little child. The speaker finishes by blessing the lamb in God’s name.


Each stanza of “The Lamb” has five couplets, typifying the AABB rhyme scheme common to Blake's Innocence poems. By keeping the rhymes simple and close-knit, Blake conveys the tone of childlike wonder and the singsong voice of innocent boys and girls. The soft vowel sounds and repetition of the “l” sound may also convey the soft bleating of a lamb.

One of Blake’s most strongly religious poems, “The Lamb” takes the pastoral life of the lamb and fuses it with the Biblical symbolism of Jesus Christ as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” By using poetic rhetorical questions, the speaker, who is probably childlike rather than actually a child, creates a sort of lyric catechism in which the existence of both a young boy and a tender lamb stand as proof of a loving, compassionate Creator.

The lamb stands in relation to the boy as the boy stands in relation to his elders; each must learn the truth of his existence by questioning the origin of his life and inferring a Creator who possesses the same characteristics of gentleness, innocence, and loving kindness as both the lamb and the child. Then the direct revelation of the Scripture comes into play. The Creator, here identified specifically as Jesus Christ by his title of “Lamb of God,” displays these characteristics in his design of the natural and human world, and in His offer of salvation to all (hence the child is also “called by his name”) through his incarnation (“he became a little child”) and presumably his death and resurrection.