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“Nurse’s Song”: Critical Detailed Analysis And Summary

“Nurse’s Song,” written by great poet William Blake is Songs of Innocence, and presents an idealised vision of childhood.


When the voices of children are heard on the green

And laughing is heard on the hill,

My heart is at rest within my breast

And every thing else is still


Then come home my children, the sun is gone down

And the dews of night arise

Come come leave off play, and let us away

Till the morning appears in the skies


No no let us play, for it is yet day

And we cannot go to sleep

Besides in the sky, the little birds fly

And the hills are all cover’d with sheep


Well well go & play till the light fades away

And then go home to bed

The little ones leaped & shouted & laugh’d

And all the hills ecchoed

Analysis::  Explanation of Nurse’s Song

Stanza 1

Blake begins by describing the setting of the poem. The children are playing on the hill and their ecstatic laughs and voices can be heard everywhere. The setting of the poem, i.e, the hill is symbolic of the ultimate happiness one is currently experiencing. On the other hand, there is a nurse who is at peace with herself.

She is enjoying the serene environment which is free from any hustle-bustle. Here we can draw a contrast between the individuals we are as children and then as grown-ups. The way the two respond to the environment is very contrasting. As grown-ups, we long for peace and tend to find it in silence. Whereas the children seem to be very content and their voices and laughs don’t end the serenity of the place but add to it.

Stanza 2

The nurse has seen the children and is signaling them to come back as the dawn is about to fall upon them. They can enjoy it again the next day when the sun is up in the sky.  What the nurse has said is something which is very practical and adult. As a concerned adult, she is beckoning the children to go home, and as the night has risen and it’s unsafe for children to be out that long.

However, as we can see she does promise them that they can continue with their recreation the next day. The stanza resonates with a sense of concern which is added by the nurse.

Stanza 3

We can see that the children are showing their resistance to going home and in their defence, they say that the day isn’t over as the sun can still be seen. They can’t go to sleep as the birds are still flying in the sky and the sheep are still grazing on the hills. What we can make out from these justifications is that either there is actually the daytime or the children are using various events mentioned above, as an excuse to elongate the duration of their merriment.

A contrast again between adults and children can be drawn. The moment there is stillness the nurse thinks that it’s time to wind up which is a very adult thing to do. The children, on the other hand, do not think this stillness to be a threat to their enjoyment as for them stillness doesn’t exist. They tend to make something out of it, unlike adults.

Stanza 4

Lastly, we see that the nurse has allowed the children to play longer. What we can derive from here is that either the children were right that the day has not ended or the nurse has given in to their lie and had allowed them to play. Whatever you may think, one thing which is clearly visible in the way an adult and a child look at things and how differently they perceive them.

A child tends to look at the brighter side of things, a lesson that should be taken by adults. Finding happiness, joy or mirth isn’t possible at all times but as adults, we need to hang onto these practices.

Nurse’s Song: Theme

A child’s innocence and positive approach

The poem revolves around this theme. Throughout the poem, one can see how innocently a child has perceived things. To begin with, we can see how the environment around them is frisky and is filled with their laughter and voices. Even in stillness they find happiness and do not consider the silence as the end of the day or a full stop to their merriment. The nurse on the other hand feels the silence as a time to stop all the activities and call it a day.

When the nurse stops the children from playing they counter her back by saying that the birds are still flying, the sun is in the sky and everything is still lively. Whether this was a lie or the nurse giving in to their excuses might be a question to ponder upon but what’s clear is that the examples given by the children are all filled with mirth and joy. They tend to see a silver lining even in the darkest of days and find a way to be happy. This is a lesson that we as adults must learn from children.

Poetic Devices used in Nurse’s Song by William Blake


The way the poet has painted a picture of the setting of the poem instantly cheers us up. The hill, the serenity which prevails over there feels like an escape from the reality we are living in. The happiness represented by the children lifts our moods as well.


The poet has used assonance in many lines. For eg:

My heart is at rest within my breast

No no let us play, for it is yet day