Study Guide

Auguries of Innocence Lines 117-124

By William Blake

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Lines 117-124

Lines 117-118

The Winner's Shout, the Loser's Curse,
Dance before dead England's Hearse.

  • This couplet continues the "England biting the dust" theme. 
  • After the "Harlot's cry" has wrapped England in its burial shroud, the people who are winning and losing in this dog-eat-dog society will shout and curse in front of the hearse that brings England's corpse to its final resting place. 
  • The fact that there are so many exultant winners and bitter losers in the nation shows that this isn't a place where people are getting a fair shake, exactly—there could be more equality, humanity, and compassion in the mix.

Lines 119-124

Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born.

Every Morn & every Night
Some are Born to sweet Delight.
Some are Born to sweet Delight,
Some are born to Endless Night.

  • Blake imagines the world—the physical world and the spiritual world—as a place where everyone is in either a happy or a sad state of being. But it's not static. People keep alternating between these states "every Morn & every Night." You might be born to misery, but the next day you're born to delight. 
  • Again, Blake doesn't believe in an eternal hell, so "Endless Night" is really a state of being or a state of mind (it's not literally "endless"). It's suffering, to put it simply. 
  • Blake aims for a weird, incantatory effect—by repeating "Some are born to sweet Delight" twice before ending with "Some are born to Endless Night," he heightens the dream-like feel of this whole process in a really eerie way.

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