“Songs of experience” (1794)
I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.
And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And ‘Thou shalt not’ writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.
And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And Priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys & desires.
By William Blake (1757-1827)
I read the “Songs of experience” when I was in high school and I was really impressed by three poems and the illustrations that accompanied the poems: "The fly”, “Nurse’s song” and “The Garden of Love”. The last one was the one that I loved the most, so I decided to add music to it. It was never my intention to do more than just play it for myself.
Our band, The Dreamers, was already formed at the time and we were preparing our self-titled debut album when one day I played a stripped version of the song to my bandmates. They liked it and we started working on it. We decided to focus more on the first and third verse of the poem. The first verse is repeated three times because we wanted to highlight the image of the Chapel which seems to be something that has no place in the Garden. The third verse is used as the chorus of our rendition of the poem because it is full of strong images and meaning: tombstones where flowers should be and priests binding with briars the joys and desires of the narrator.
Nikos Bakirtzis – The Dreamers
The song was produced, mixed and mastered by Kostas Fragkopoulos at Shellac Recording Studios in Thessaloniki.