'Auguries Of Innocence' by William Blake
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To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.
A dove-house filled with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell through all its regions.
A dog starved at his master's gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.
A horse misused upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.
A skylark wounded in the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game-cock clipped and armed for fight
Does the rising sun affright.
Every wolf's and lion's howl
Raises from hell a human soul.
The wild deer wandering here and there
Keeps the human soul from care.
The lamb misused breeds public strife,
And yet forgives the butcher's knife.
The bat that flits at close of eve
Has left the brain that won't believe.
The owl that calls upon the night
Speaks the unbeliever's fright.
He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be beloved by men.
He who the ox to wrath has moved
Shall never be by woman loved.
The wanton boy that kills the fly
Shall feel the spider's enmity.
He who torments the chafer's sprite
Weaves a bower in endless night.
The caterpillar on the leaf
Repeats to thee thy mother's grief.
Kill not the moth nor butterfly,
For the Last Judgment draweth nigh.
He who shall train the horse to war
Shall never pass the polar bar.
The beggar's dog and widow's cat,
Feed them, and thou wilt grow fat.
The gnat that sings his summer's song
Poison gets from Slander's tongue.
The poison of the snake and newt
Is the sweat of Envy's foot.
The poison of the honey-bee
Is the artist's jealousy.
The prince's robes and beggar's rags
Are toadstools on the miser's bags.
A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so:
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know
Through the world we safely go.
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
The babe is more than swaddling bands,
Throughout all these human lands;
Tools were made and born were hands,
Every farmer understands.
Every tear from every eye
Becomes a babe in eternity;
This is caught by females bright
And returned to its own delight.
The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar
Are waves that beat on heaven's shore.
The babe that weeps the rod beneath
Writes Revenge! in realms of death.
The beggar's rags fluttering in air
Does to rags the heavens tear.
The soldier armed with sword and gun
Palsied strikes the summer's sun.
The poor man's farthing is worth more
Than all the gold on Afric's shore.
One mite wrung from the labourer's hands
Shall buy and sell the miser's lands,
Or if protected from on high
Does that whole nation sell and buy.
He who mocks the infant's faith
Shall be mocked in age and death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne'er get out.
He who respects the infant's faith
Triumphs over hell and death.
The child's toys and the old man's reasons
Are the fruits of the two seasons.
The questioner who sits so sly
Shall never know how to reply.
He who replies to words of doubt
Doth put the light of knowledge out.
The strongest poison ever known
Came from Caesar's laurel crown.
Nought can deform the human race
Like to the armour's iron brace.
When gold and gems adorn the plough
To peaceful arts shall Envy bow.
A riddle or the cricket's cry
Is to doubt a fit reply.
The emmet's inch and eagle's mile
Make lame philosophy to smile.
He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne'er believe, do what you please.
If the sun and moon should doubt,
They'd immediately go out.
To be in a passion you good may do,
But no good if a passion is in you.
The whore and gambler, by the state
Licensed, build that nation's fate.
The harlot's cry from street to street
Shall weave old England's winding sheet.
The winner's shout, the loser's curse,
Dance before dead England's hearse.
Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born.
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.
We are led to believe a lie
When we see not through the eye
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.
God appears, and God is light
To those poor souls who dwell in night,
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.
Editor 1 Interpretation
Auguries Of Innocence: A Literary Criticism and Interpretation
Oh, William Blake! The man who never shied away from questioning the norms of his time and brought forth his radical thoughts through his poetry. Auguries Of Innocence is one such masterpiece that showcases his poetic prowess and his ability to create vivid imageries through words. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I will dive deep into the themes, symbolism, and the general mood of the poem that still resonates with us today.
Before we delve into the poem, let's talk about the context in which it was written. Blake was born in London in 1757 and lived through a time of great social and political upheaval. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing, and the growing capitalist system was changing the way people lived and worked. Blake was deeply critical of the new social order and saw it as a threat to the natural world and to human consciousness. His poetry often reflects this worldview and seeks to awaken readers to the dangers of societal institutions.
Auguries Of Innocence was written sometime between 1803 and 1805, during a period of personal and political turmoil for Blake. He had recently been accused of sedition and was struggling to make ends meet. The poem reflects his frustration with the state of the world and his belief that it was possible to create a better, more just society.
The poem is rife with themes that are still relevant today. One of the primary themes is the interconnectedness of all things. Blake writes, "To see a world in a grain of sand, / And a heaven in a wildflower, / Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, / And eternity in an hour." These lines suggest that everything in the world is connected and that we can find meaning and beauty in even the smallest things.
Another important theme is the idea of innocence. Blake believes that innocence is a state of being that we can never truly regain once we lose it. He writes, "Every night and every morn, / Some to misery are born. / Every morn and every night, / Some are born to sweet delight." These lines suggest that our fate is largely determined by the circumstances of our birth and that the loss of innocence is a natural part of the human experience.
The poem also touches on the theme of nature versus industrialization. Blake is deeply critical of the new capitalist order and sees it as a threat to the natural world. He writes, "A robin redbreast in a cage / Puts all heaven in a rage." These lines suggest that the confinement of animals is a violation of the natural order and that it will inevitably lead to chaos and destruction.
Blake uses a variety of symbols throughout the poem to convey his themes. One of the most powerful symbols is that of the tiger. He writes, "Tiger tiger burning bright, / In the forests of the night; / What immortal hand or eye, / Could frame thy fearful symmetry?" The tiger represents the raw power of nature and the danger that comes with it. It is a reminder that humans are not the only beings with agency in the world and that we must respect the natural order if we are to survive.
Another important symbol is that of the rose. Blake writes, "He who binds to himself a joy / Does the winged life destroy; / But he who kisses the joy as it flies / Lives in eternity's sunrise." The rose represents the fleeting nature of beauty and joy. It is a reminder that we must enjoy the moments of happiness and beauty in our lives while we can.
The overall mood of the poem is one of both despair and hope. Blake is deeply critical of the state of the world and the societal institutions that he believes are responsible for it. However, he also believes that it is possible to create a better, more just society. The poem is a call to action, urging readers to see the world as it truly is and to work towards a better future.
Auguries Of Innocence is a timeless masterpiece that still resonates with us today. Its themes of interconnectedness, innocence, and nature versus industrialization are as relevant now as they were in Blake's time. The symbolism he uses throughout the poem serves to deepen its meaning and evoke powerful emotions in the reader. The overall mood of the poem is one of both despair and hope, urging us to see the world as it truly is and to work towards a better future. Blake's poetry continues to inspire us to question the norms of society and to strive for a better, more just world.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Auguries of Innocence: A Poem of Profound Meaning and Beauty
William Blake, the celebrated English poet, painter, and printmaker, is known for his visionary and mystical works that explore the complexities of human experience and the mysteries of the universe. Among his most famous poems is "Auguries of Innocence," a masterpiece that captures the essence of his poetic vision and his profound insights into the nature of existence.
Written in 1803, "Auguries of Innocence" is a long and intricate poem that consists of four quatrains and a refrain, each of which contains a series of paradoxical and enigmatic statements that challenge the reader's understanding and imagination. The poem is a meditation on the interconnectedness of all things, the cyclical nature of life and death, and the eternal struggle between innocence and experience.
The opening lines of the poem set the tone for the rest of the work:
"To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour."
These lines are a testament to Blake's belief in the power of imagination and the ability of the human mind to transcend the limitations of time and space. He invites the reader to look beyond the surface of things and to see the hidden beauty and meaning that lies within them. The image of a world contained in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower suggests that even the smallest and most insignificant things can hold great significance and value.
The next quatrain of the poem explores the theme of innocence and experience, which is central to Blake's philosophy. He writes:
"A Robin Red breast in a Cage Puts all Heaven in a Rage. A dove house fill'd with doves & Pigeons Shudders Hell thro' all its regions."
These lines suggest that the confinement of innocent creatures is a violation of the natural order and a source of divine wrath. The image of a caged robin, which is traditionally associated with innocence and purity, represents the human soul trapped in the material world and deprived of its spiritual freedom. The dove house, which is a symbol of peace and love, becomes a place of horror and torment when it is filled with captive birds, indicating the corruption and degradation of the human heart.
The third quatrain of the poem explores the theme of cycles and transformations, which is another recurring motif in Blake's work. He writes:
"A dog starv'd at his Master's Gate Predicts the ruin of the State. A Horse misus'd upon the Road Calls to Heaven for Human blood."
These lines suggest that the mistreatment of animals is a sign of social and political decay and a harbinger of divine retribution. The dog starved at his master's gate represents the oppressed and marginalized members of society who are denied their basic rights and dignity. The horse misused upon the road represents the exploited and abused workers who suffer under the yoke of capitalism and industrialization. Both images suggest that the suffering of the innocent will eventually lead to the downfall of the oppressors and the renewal of the social order.
The final quatrain of the poem returns to the theme of interconnectedness and the power of imagination. Blake writes:
"Every Night & every Morn Some to Misery are Born. Every Morn and every Night Some are Born to sweet delight."
These lines suggest that life is a cycle of birth and death, joy and sorrow, and that every moment contains the potential for both. The repetition of the phrases "every night and every morn" and "every morn and every night" emphasizes the cyclical nature of existence and the eternal struggle between light and darkness, good and evil, innocence and experience. The final refrain, "And we are put on earth a little space, / That we might learn to bear the beams of love," suggests that the purpose of life is to learn to love and to endure the hardships and challenges that come with it.
In conclusion, "Auguries of Innocence" is a profound and beautiful poem that captures the essence of William Blake's poetic vision and his insights into the nature of existence. Through its paradoxical and enigmatic statements, the poem invites the reader to explore the interconnectedness of all things, the cyclical nature of life and death, and the eternal struggle between innocence and experience. It is a testament to the power of imagination and the ability of the human mind to transcend the limitations of time and space. It is a work of art that will continue to inspire and challenge readers for generations to come.
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