Module 4: Poetry

1. William Blake: Songs of Innocence and of Experience

This example features a fragment of William Blake’s Songs of innocence and of experience, encoded and made available by the University of Virginia Library, for their Text Collection.

It forms a good example of how an anthology can be encoded. The work is considered as a single text (<text>) whose <body> contains both books. Both “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience” are encoded as <div1> numbered text divisions, with a @type attribute with value "book". Inside these books, all 45 poems are encoded as <div2 type="poem">. All poems have a title (<head>) and are subdivided into stanzas (<lg type="stanza">) and lines (<l>). Page breaks are recorded with <pb> elements, whose @n attribute contain the page number.

<text xmlns="" xml:id="d1">
<body xml:id="d2">
<div1 type="book" xml:id="d3">
<head>Songs of Innocence</head>
<pb n="4"/>
<div2 type="poem" xml:id="d4">
<lg type="stanza">
<l>Piping down the valleys wild, </l>
<l>Piping songs of pleasant glee, </l>
<l>On a cloud I saw a child, </l>
<l>And he laughing said to me: </l>
<lg type="stanza">
<l>"Pipe a song about a Lamb!" </l>
<l>So I piped with merry chear. </l>
<l>"Piper, pipe that song again;" </l>
<l>So I piped, he wept to hear. </l>
<lg type="stanza">
<l>"Drop thy pipe, thy happy pipe; </l>
<l>Sing thy songs of happy chear:" </l>
<l>So I sung the same again, </l>
<l>While he wept with joy to hear. </l>
<lg type="stanza">
<l>"Piper, sit thee down and write </l>
<l>In a book, that all may read." </l>
<l>So he vanis​'d from my sight, </l>
<l>And I pluck​'d a hollow reed, </l>
<lg type="stanza">
<l>And I made a rural pen, </l>
<l>And I stain​'d the water clear, </l>
<l>And I wrote my happy songs </l>
<l>Every child may joy to hear. </l>
<pb n="5"/>
<div2 type="poem" xml:id="d5">
<head>The Shepherd</head>
<lg type="stanza">
<l>How sweet is the Shepherd​'s sweet lot! </l>
<l>From the morn to the evening he strays; </l>
<l>He shall follow his sheep all the day, </l>
<l>And his tongue shall be filled with praise. </l>
<lg type="stanza">
<l>For he hears the lamb​'s innocent call, </l>
<l>And he hears the ewe​'s tender reply; </l>
<l>He is watchful while they are in peace, </l>
<l>For they know when their Shepherd is nigh. </l>
<pb n="6"/>
<div2 type="poem" xml:id="d6">
<head>The Ecchoing Green</head>
<lg type="stanza">
<l>The Sun does arise, </l>
<l>And make happy the skies; </l>
<l>The merry bells ring </l>
<l>To welcome the Spring; </l>
<l>The sky​-lark and thrush, </l>
<l>The birds of the bush, </l>
<l>Sing louder around </l>
<l>To the bells' chearful sound, </l>
<l>While our sports shall be seen </l>
<l>On the Ecchoing Green. </l>
<lg type="stanza">
<l>Old John, with white hair, </l>
<l>Does laugh away care, </l>
<l>Sitting under the oak, </l>
<l>Among the old folk.
<pb n="7"/>
<l>They laugh at our play, </l>
<l>And soon they all say: </l>
<l>"Such, such were the joys </l>
<l>When we all, girls & boys, </l>
<l>In our youth time were seen </l>
<l>On the Ecchoing Green." </l>
<lg type="stanza">
<l>Till the little ones, weary, </l>
<l>No more can be merry; </l>
<l>The sun does descend, </l>
<l>And our sports have an end. </l>
<l>Round the laps of their mothers </l>
<l>Many sisters and brothers, </l>
<l>Like birds in their nest, </l>
<l>Are ready for rest, </l>
<l>And sport no more seen </l>
<l>On the darkening Green. </l>
<pb n="8"/>
<div2 type="poem" xml:id="d7">
<head>The Lamb</head>
<lg type="stanza">
<l rend="indent">Little lamb, who made thee? </l>
<l rend="indent">Dost thou know who made thee? </l>
<l>Gave thee life & bid thee feed, </l>
<l>By the stream & o​'er the mead; </l>
<l>Gave thee clothing of delight, </l>
<l>Softest clothing, wooly, bright; </l>
<l>Gave thee such a tender voice, </l>
<l>Making all the vales rejoice? </l>
<l rend="indent">Little Lamb, who made thee? </l>
<l rend="indent">Dost thou know who made thee? </l>
<lg type="stanza">
<l rend="indent">Little Lamb, I​'ll tell thee, </l>
<l rend="indent">Little Lamb, I​'ll tell thee: </l>
<l>He is called by thy name, </l>
<l>For he calls himself a Lamb. </l>
<l>He is meek & he is mild; </l>
<l>He became a little child. </l>
<l>I a child & thou a lamb. </l>
<l>We are called by his name. </l>
<l rend="indent">Little Lamb, God bless thee! </l>
<l rend="indent">Little Lamb, God bless thee!</l>
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Example 1. Adapted from a TEI P4 encoding of William Blake’s anthology Songs of Innocence and of Experience (Blake 1789). TEI XML source available from;raw=1.


  • Blake, William. 1789. Songs of Innocence and of Experience. London: W Blake. Encoded and made available by the University of Virginia Library, Text Collection at
  • Browning, Robert. 1842. Dramatic Lyrics. London: Moxon.
  • Carroll, Lewis. 1865. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. New York: D. Appleton and co. p. 37.
  • Islam, Mubina. 2004. “A Selection of Sonnets: electronic edition encoded in XML with a TEI DTD.” Unpublished Master’s Dissertation, London: University College London.
  • Shakespeare, William. 1978. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Edited by Alexander, Peter. London: Collins.
  • Swinburne, Algernon Charles. 1924. Swinburne’s Collected Poetical Works. London: William Heinemann. p. 330–31.