Songs of Innocence and of Experience

Songs of Innocence and of Experience Summary and Analysis of "The Laughing Song"


This poem celebrates merriment in various forms. It begins with the laughter of nature: the woods, stream, air, hills, and meadow are said to laugh simply by existing. Then the poem shifts to the laughter of grasshoppers, then of the girls, Mary, Susan, and Emily. Finally, the poem describes the laughter of birds near the “table” set by the speaker and his listener, and it closes with an invitation to this same listener to join in the laughter of the world around them.


“Laughing Song” is a three-stanza lyric poem. Each stanza has two rhyming couplets. This AABB rhyme scheme is often used by Blake in Songs of Innocence to evoke this sing-song quality of children's songs, and by extension their innocence and unquestioning joy at life. The “Laughing Song” is truly a song, intended for singing aloud, with a simple rhythm inviting an equally simple melody. Blake himself was known to sing his songs aloud. Thus, the poem expresses the simple pleasures that anyone can see in the world around him at any time.