In Songs of Experience, Blake narrates a debate about love between two natural elements in the poem “The CLOD and the PEBBLE.” Divided into three four-line stanzas of iambic tetrameter, the poem first opines the perspective that love is selfless and capable of creating “a Heaven in Hells despair” (4). Functioning as a transition, the second stanza identifies the previous speaker as the clod of clay, which is described as little, trodden, and singing—all images associated with innocence (think, “Little Lamb who made thee…Gave thee such a tender voice…He is meek”). At the exact middle of the poem, Blake shifts to the second natural element, a “Pebble of the brook,” marking the departure with a colon at the end of line 6. Presented as a direct contrary to the clod, the pebble asserts in stanza three that love is selfish, defiantly building “a Hell in Heavens despite” (12).

Although Blake strictly separates the clod and the pebble through poetic form, he refuses to accept their complete animosity and emphasizes their natural origins. The definer “clay” is meaningful to Blake (it appeared in his first draft of “The Tyger” as well) because it connotes malleability and incompleteness, much like an impressionable child. Though the pebble has been hardened by the constant bombardment of the brook, it is near enough to the clod to hear its song, indicating the imaged locales of Heaven and Hell exist in the same physical space. Blake also uses the same rhyme of “please” and “ease” in the first and third stanzas, undermining disparate opinions through diction. By binding together the seemingly apparent oppositions of the clod and the pebble, Blake questions the absoluteness of the divides between innocence and experience, youth and adulthood, Heaven and Hell, by highlighting characteristics shared by each pair.

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