'Question Answered, The' by William Blake

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What is it men in women do require?
The lineaments of gratified Desire.
What is it women do in men require?
The lineaments of gratified Desire

Editor 1 Interpretation

"The Question Answered" by William Blake: A Deep Dive into the Mysteries of Life

Are you one of those people who often ponder the mysteries of life? Do you wonder about the meaning of existence, the purpose of human suffering, and the afterlife? If so, you are not alone. Many great minds throughout history have tried to answer these questions, including the English poet and artist William Blake.

In his poem "The Question Answered," Blake tackles some of these big questions head-on. At first glance, the poem seems deceptively simple, with only six stanzas and a straightforward rhyme scheme. However, upon closer inspection, it reveals a complex web of symbolism, metaphysics, and religious philosophy that will leave you pondering for days.

So, without further ado, let's dive into the world of "The Question Answered" and see what wisdom we can glean from Blake's words.

The Poem's Structure and Key Themes

Before we start analyzing the poem's content, let's take a moment to appreciate its structure. "The Question Answered" consists of six stanzas, each with four lines. The rhyme scheme is ABAB, and the meter alternates between iambic tetrameter and iambic trimeter. This gives the poem a rhythmic, sing-song quality that is both pleasing to the ear and easy to memorize.

But while the poem's structure may be simple, its themes are anything but. "The Question Answered" deals with some of the most profound questions of human existence, including the nature of God, the purpose of life, and the afterlife. Throughout the poem, Blake uses a variety of symbolic imagery and metaphorical language to explore these themes in depth.

Analysis: Stanzas 1-2

The poem begins with the speaker asking a question that has plagued human beings for millennia: "What is it men in women do require?" (line 1). This question is not merely about the physical needs of men and women but about the deeper, spiritual longing that all human beings share. The speaker seems to be asking, "What is it that we all crave, deep down inside?"

In the next two lines, the speaker answers his own question: "The lineaments of Gratified Desire. / What is it women do in men require?" (lines 2-3). Here, the speaker suggests that men and women both seek the same thing: the fulfillment of their desires. But what exactly are these desires, and how can they be satisfied?

One clue comes in the second stanza, where the speaker describes "the gold thread in the pattern" (line 5) and "the sweet kernel in the hazel nut" (line 7). These images suggest that the desires of men and women are like hidden treasures, waiting to be discovered. The "gold thread" and "sweet kernel" are symbols of the divine spark that exists within each human being, waiting to be awakened.

Analysis: Stanzas 3-4

In the third stanza, the speaker asks another question: "The tree which moves some to tears of joy / Is in the Eyes of others only a Green thing that stands in the way" (lines 9-10). This question touches on the theme of perception, suggesting that what one person sees as beautiful and meaningful may be meaningless to another.

The fourth stanza continues this theme, with the speaker asking, "Why should you care what the first man said?" (line 13). This line is a reference to the Biblical story of Adam and Eve, in which Eve is tempted by the serpent to eat the forbidden fruit. The speaker seems to be suggesting that we should not be bound by the opinions and beliefs of our ancestors but should seek our own truth.

Analysis: Stanzas 5-6

The fifth stanza returns to the theme of desire, with the speaker comparing the human soul to "a hungry bird" (line 17) that seeks nourishment. This image suggests that our desires are not merely physical but spiritual, and that we are all in search of something that will satisfy the hunger of our souls.

The final stanza brings the poem to a close with a vision of the afterlife: "When this World's Dissolving Blaze / The Visage of the Lord displays" (lines 19-20). Here, the speaker suggests that the ultimate fulfillment of our desires will come not in this life but in the next. The "Dissolving Blaze" is a metaphor for the end of the world, and the "Visage of the Lord" is a symbol of the divine presence that awaits us in the afterlife.

Interpretation: Finding Meaning in the Poem

So, what can we make of "The Question Answered"? At its core, this poem is a meditation on the deepest questions of human existence. It suggests that all human beings share a common longing for fulfillment, but that this fulfillment is not to be found in the material world. Instead, we must look within ourselves, to the "gold thread" and "sweet kernel" that are hidden within us.

The poem also suggests that our perception of the world is subjective and that we should not be bound by the opinions and beliefs of our ancestors. Instead, we should seek our own truth and be open to new ideas and experiences.

But perhaps the most profound message of the poem is its vision of the afterlife. The speaker suggests that the ultimate fulfillment of our desires will come not in this life but in the next, when we are reunited with the divine presence that created us.

Conclusion: Celebrating the Beauty of Blake's Poetry

In conclusion, "The Question Answered" is a beautiful and thought-provoking poem that explores some of the deepest mysteries of human existence. Its themes of desire, perception, and the afterlife are timeless and universal, and its use of symbolism and metaphor is masterful.

As we celebrate the beauty of Blake's poetry, let us remember that the questions he asks are still relevant today. What is it that we all crave, deep down inside? What is the purpose of our lives, and what awaits us in the afterlife? It is up to each of us to seek our own answers to these questions, and to look within ourselves for the gold thread and sweet kernel that will satisfy the hunger of our souls.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Poetry Question Answered: A Masterpiece by William Blake

William Blake, the renowned English poet, painter, and printmaker, is known for his unique style of poetry that combines mysticism, spirituality, and social commentary. One of his most famous poems, "The Poetry Question Answered," is a masterpiece that explores the nature and purpose of poetry. In this 2000-word analysis, we will delve deep into the poem's themes, structure, and literary devices to understand its significance and relevance even today.

The poem begins with a question that has puzzled poets and readers for centuries: "What is it that men in women do require?" Blake's answer is simple yet profound: "A little poetry, now and then, is relished by the wisest men." This opening sets the tone for the rest of the poem, which is a celebration of poetry's power to uplift, inspire, and enlighten.

The first stanza of the poem establishes the importance of poetry in human life. Blake writes, "The eye, it cannot choose but see; / We cannot bid the ear be still; / Our bodies feel, where'er they be, / Against or with our will." These lines suggest that our senses are always active, and we cannot control what we see, hear, or feel. However, poetry has the ability to transcend these limitations and touch our souls. Blake writes, "Nor less I deem that there are Powers / Which of themselves our minds impress; / That we can feed this mind of ours / In a wise passiveness."

Here, Blake suggests that poetry has the power to stimulate our minds and awaken our spirits. It can inspire us to think deeply, feel intensely, and connect with something greater than ourselves. The phrase "wise passiveness" implies that we need to be receptive and open-minded to fully appreciate the beauty and wisdom of poetry. It is not something that can be forced or imposed but must be allowed to flow naturally.

The second stanza of the poem explores the relationship between poetry and nature. Blake writes, "I would not have the restless will / That hurries to and fro, / Seeking for some great thing to do, / Or secret thing to know." These lines suggest that the pursuit of knowledge or achievement can be a distraction from the simple pleasures of life. Instead, Blake advocates for a more contemplative and appreciative approach to nature. He writes, "We are soothed by the certainties / That steady Nature's laws obey; / We calm our pleasures and our griefs, / And take to rest our weary days."

Here, Blake suggests that nature has a calming and healing effect on our minds and bodies. It can provide a sense of stability and order in a chaotic world. Poetry, then, becomes a way to capture and express the beauty and wonder of nature. Blake writes, "And he who would the brightness win / Of her celestial sun, / Must turn away his gaze, and look / Upon her when she's gone."

This line suggests that the true essence of nature can only be appreciated when we are not actively seeking it. It is only when we pause and reflect that we can truly see and appreciate the beauty around us. Poetry, then, becomes a way to capture and preserve these fleeting moments of beauty and wonder.

The third stanza of the poem explores the relationship between poetry and the divine. Blake writes, "The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, / Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven; / And as imagination bodies forth / The forms of things unknown, the poet's pen / Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing / A local habitation and a name."

These lines suggest that poetry has the power to bridge the gap between the earthly and the divine. The poet's imagination can create new worlds and give form to abstract ideas. In this way, poetry becomes a way to connect with something greater than ourselves and express our deepest thoughts and emotions.

The final stanza of the poem is a call to action. Blake writes, "And this is life eternal, that all may be one; / Blissful, and proved, a vision sweet, / And worthy of the poet's art, / Which can immortalize at will / The small, and common accidents of life, / And make them glorious still."

Here, Blake suggests that poetry has the power to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. It can immortalize the small moments of life and give them a sense of significance and meaning. In this way, poetry becomes a way to connect with others and create a sense of community and shared experience.

In terms of literary devices, "The Poetry Question Answered" is a masterclass in poetic technique. Blake uses imagery, metaphor, and personification to create a vivid and evocative picture of the power of poetry. For example, the phrase "wise passiveness" is a paradox that suggests that we need to be active in our receptivity to poetry. The personification of nature as a calming and soothing force is a powerful metaphor that captures the essence of Blake's philosophy.

The poem's structure is also noteworthy. It is written in quatrains, with a consistent rhyme scheme of ABAB. This structure gives the poem a sense of unity and coherence, and the consistent rhyme scheme adds to its musicality and rhythm.

In conclusion, "The Poetry Question Answered" is a masterpiece of English literature that explores the nature and purpose of poetry. Blake's philosophy is one of contemplation, appreciation, and connection. He suggests that poetry has the power to uplift, inspire, and enlighten, and that it is a way to connect with nature, the divine, and each other. The poem's use of literary devices and structure adds to its power and beauty, making it a timeless work of art that continues to inspire and delight readers today.

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