Tag Archives: Oliver Tearle

We sing the while.

A IMG_7278 2.jpg RigoThis poem from William Blake’s 1789 Songs of Innocence is about a baby a few days younger than my grandson Rigo, but its tone of blessing and gratefulness reflects that which still reigns in our household since our newest “joy” was added to the family. I was reminded of the poem on the Interesting Literature site where I found conveniently listed 10 of the Best Poems for Christenings.

As you might guess, they were not written specifically for christenings, but about particular babies. The blog author Dr. Oliver Tearle tells us, “An infant may be without a name but it is also without a voice, as the very word attests (from the Latin infans, ‘unable to speak’). As with so many of his poems, in ‘Infant Joy’ Blake is giving a voice to the (literally) voiceless.”

INFANT JOY

I have no name
I am but two days old.—
What shall I call thee?
I happy am
Joy is my name,—
Sweet joy befall thee!

Pretty joy!
Sweet joy but two days old,
Sweet joy I call thee;
Thou dost smile.
I sing the while
Sweet joy befall thee.

-William Blake