The Theme of the River of Life
This poem has many different interpretations, so and we will be focusing on the three most popular ones: The River of Life as God's love, The River of Life as an actual river from which one can drink water for eternal life, or The River of Life as being symbolic for Jesus Christ. The theme of The River of Life is love. It has been said that the poem represents God's love, as in "God loves all." This interpretation reflects Blake's general belief that all people should be loved equally without judgment and with respect for their free will.
Another popular interpretation says that this river can provide eternal life by giving one a drink from it. This interpretation is supported by the idea that Jesus Christ gave his followers eternal life after he died on the cross for them and that drinking water also symbolizes rebirth and purity. Lastly, this river can represent being spiritual because those who are not religious may believe in God or some other form of spirituality. Still, just as important to them as the physical world is their spiritual self.
The Medium Used
The medium used to represent innocence is water. Blake often uses explicit, distinct imagery when speaking about the state of being innocent, and this poem is no different. Innocent people have not yet learned that life can be cruel, hard, or unfair. While they may not know what the future will bring them (or we), these two little ones are happy now, "shading their eyes" and "looking in the stream," wondering what they will see next. When a bird dashes into the water to catch a fish, we witness how these children react:
The two little ones (innocents) laugh at their own reflection in the water, believing that life is funny and wonderful. The word "laugh" indicates not only their state of innocence but also the innocent feeling that washes over you when something makes you happy, such as children laughing or playing. People are usually not happy in a world devoid of God's presence through (a fallen world).
Its Current Location
To find where this poem is located, you would have to go online. The River of Life is not currently published as a physical book since it was written in 1804. This is because many people believe that Blake never intended for his poems to be printed and distributed, but instead, they were meant only for the people who visited his gallery. William Blake's poems are still popular today. Still, they can be accessed through online sources such as The Poetry Foundation and the Harvard University Library website, where they have a digital copy of this poem posted.