August 31, 2021

From Gerald R. Lucas
Blake The Blossom 1.jpg
The Blossom[1]
By: William Blake (1789)

Merry, merry sparrow!
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom
Sees you, swift as arrow,
Seek your cradle narrow, 5
Near my bosom.[2]

Pretty, pretty robin!
Under leaves so green
A happy blossom
Hears you sobbing, sobbing,[3] 10
Pretty, pretty robin,
Near my bosom.

Notes & Commentary

  1. From Songs of Innocence, 1789. This is a poem of harmony, the child speaker, likely a girl here, brings nature to her heart—birds, plants and humans (Tomlinson 1987, p. 33). Compare this poem to its contrary, the “The Sick Rose” from Songs of Experience. Unlike in its contrary poem, the blossom here is in the wild, free of the confines that humans would impose upon it.
         See also the introductory note on “The Lamb” for more background into Blake’s poetic composition and philosophy.
  2. This phrase is repeated and suggests that the child speaker of the poem is a girl (Tomlinson 1987, p. 33). Bosom, too, suggests near her heart, where the poetic intuition is strong.
  3. Sobbing is unlikely sadness, but an overflow or an abundance of joy, like in weeps with joy.

Bibliography

  • Ackroyd, Peter (1995). Blake: A Biography. New York: Ballantine Books.
  • Battenhouse, Henry M. (1958). English Romantic Writers. New York: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.
  • Bloom, Harold (2003). William Blake. Bloom’s Major Poets. New York: Chelsea House.
  • Frye, Northrup (1947). Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Gardner, Stanley (1969). Blake. Literary Critiques. New York: Arco.
  • Greenblatt, Stephen, ed. (2018). The Norton Anthology of English Literature. The Major Authors. 2 (Tenth ed.). New York: W. W. Norton.
  • Makdisi, Saree (2003). "The Political Aesthetic of Blake's Images". In Eaves, Morris. The Cambridge Companion to William Blake. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP. pp. 110–132.
  • — (2015). Reading William Blake. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
  • Paulin, Tom (March 3, 2007). "The Invisible Worm". Guardian. Retrieved 2021-09-04.
  • Thompson, E. P. (1993). Witness Against the Beast. New York: The New Press.
  • Tomlinson, Alan (1987). Song of Innocence and of Experience by William Blake. MacMillan Master Guides. London: MacMillan Education.
  • Wolfson, Susan J. (2003). "Blake's Language in Poetic Form". In Eaves, Morris. The Cambridge Companion to William Blake. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP. pp. 63–83.

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