In the Songs of Innocence and Experience Blake makes frequent references to lambs and to Lambs.  He manipulates the capitalization here to achieve a variety of effects, but on one distinct level he uses the difference to refer to the Biblical Lamb of God.  The lamb is frequently used in the Bible as a sacrifice offered to the Lord.   The idea of comparing human beings to the sacrificial lamb takes it’s root in Genesis when Abraham tells his son that ‘God will provide the lamb for the offering.’  (For those not familiar with the story, Abraham has been instructed by God not to sacrifice a lamb but to sacrifice his own son.)  From here the image of the sacrificial lamb takes on new meaning when it becomes one of the epithets given to Jesus in the gospel.  In John’s gospel Jesus is referred to as the “Lamb of God,” now with a capital L.  This image is meant to emphasize Jesus’ status as a necessary offering to the Lord.  The lamb makes for a good sacrifice because it is pure and innocent.  By Old Testament standards the lamb is among the pure, clean animals that are worthy to be sacrificed.  In a way there is a paradox here, that the lamb’s innocence and purity are the reason it is used for the sacrifice.

Blake’s audience would have understood the meaning of this epithet as it is used in the Songs of Innocence.  In poems like “The Lamb” the speaker keys in on the Lamb’s lack of knowledge and understanding.  The speaker here adopts the same tone one would use when talking to a small child who lacks education.  The Lamb does not even know it’s creator.  But this lack of understanding serves to justify the use of the capital L here.  The Lamb is actually connected to the Lamb of God by this extreme innocence.  Because the lamb lacks any understanding of the world, he embodies those qualities that are sought after in the Lambs.

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