William Blake is a leading visionary of the Romantic Age who explored religion, philosophy, and politics. He was known for his engravings and paintings, as well as his poetry.
Here are some interesting facts that created an effect on his way of writing:
- Blake claimed to have visions throughout his life.
- The death of his brother Robert had a profound influence on him.
Robert allegedly appeared to Blake in visions to teach him a new technique that came to be known as illuminated printing.
- Blake had a successful marriage with Catherine Sophia Boucher.
- He was a radical thinker and often had unpopular opinions.
- He believed on cruelty of society towards the humane genius.
- He criticized state interference on marriage, chastity, and birth control. He supported women’s sexual freedom and right to self-fulfillment.
- Romantic poet
To the Evening Star
Thou fair-hair’d angel of the evening,
Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains, light
Thy bright torch of love; thy radiant crown
Put on, and smile upon our evening bed!
Smile on our loves, and while thou drawest the
Blue curtains of the sky, scatter thy silver dew
On every flower that shuts its sweet eyes
In timely sleep. Let thy west wind sleep on
The lake; speak silence with thy glimmering eyes,
And wash the dusk with silver. Soon, full soon,
Dost thou withdraw; then the wolf rages wide,
And then the lion glares through the dun forest:
The fleeces of our flock are cover’d with
Thy sacred dew: protect them with thin influence!
William Blake (1757-1827)
- Enjabment –> need to move on reading
- Old language
- Romantic poem –> Nature as semantic field. He is talking to nature.
- The night is used to rest from the day
- We dream at night
- Images –> visual: light, sun; night; wild animals;
- Vulnerable at night
- Conclusion: warning. To be alert.
Then, we watch the following presentation to get a deeper understanding of the poem: Click here.
In my opinion, in this poem the Writer tries to advice us, the reader, to take care of the «night» and its evils. He personifies the brightest star in the sky, the one who brings protection.
Short analysis (Notes in class)
- it is a sonnet. 14 lines. Regular lines. Message in the last two lines: couplet message.
- Voice: a person
- Adresse: the start (as an angel) (personification) The star gives light during the night and protect us from the night.
- Topic: Sleep
- Vemus– the first start to appear– romanticism (goddess of love & sexuality)
- Topic = religion
- light /–/ dark
- day /–/ night
- innocence /–/ experience
- Alliteration («silence of the night») «S» sound, projecting a silence over the night
- darknes= dusk … light= «dew» (silver).
- Topic: fear of the night temptetions.
- «The wolf rages wide» & «The lion glires» … auditory images … fierce, wild… hunt at night. Symbolize: nightmares, evil, tempations
- «flock» — innocnce/ vulnerable we are sheep. (jesus) (religion is present, religios image)
- good /–/ evil
- animal´s colour: opposit. wolf (dark) — lion (malinterpratation of its appearence)
- «covered with sacred dew» we are protected everytime. When the noght is over, and the star which protect us is gone, it had left the dew to protect us. That means, that we will always be proteced by the star, which represents God.
- L 5-10: Blake proceeds to describe the night and how the «star» & the «dew» protect us from evil and temptations and help us to have a peaceful sleep. 1. Fully alliterative 2. «s» silence of the night 3. Personification «star» 4. metaphor «blue courtains of the sky»… night 5. auditory and visual images 6. oxymoron «speak silence».
- the star is God.
- We are the sheeps.
- We need to pray an believe to feel protected. We need to have faith.
- cycle of day and night (the star is the transition)