William Blake and The Garden of Love

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William Blake and The Garden of Love

At first glance, the poetry of William Blake may appear simplistic; he

writes most often in regular metrical rhythm, apparently sticking to the

rules, blunt observations on such mundane subjects as tigers, lambs and

roses. But if one were to finish with Blake and move on, left with only

these initial impressions, it would be a great pity; true enjoyment of this

poet can only come about through some understanding of his life, background,

and skill in the manipulation of the tool of simple lyrical poetry, to

convey deeper meaning.

Amongst his admirers, Blake is considered something of a renaissance man, a

frustrated and hugely gifted artist and writer, a social renegade, and

something of a true western mystic. For our purposes here, it is

sufficient to know that throughout his adult years he struggled with ideas

of correct government, church corruption, unfair taxation, and Christian

thought, to the point of near-lunacy. Blake was born in London in 1857, and

while still in his early teens (under 14) began privately writing poetry

that is considered of high caliber.

Blake¹s family had the wherewithal to send him to a ³drawing school² when he

was ten, and he there began formal training in art. He was greatly

influenced by the art of the Renaissance world, and later wrote about his

early total comprehension and appreciation of it. He continued his formal education in art, and was apprenticed and

working successfully in that world by his twenties.

But at heart Blake was a lover of words, and inclined to express his

impressions of life through the pen as easily and readi...

... middle of paper ...

...who would be helpful figures normally - are blindly making their

rounds dressed in black. Black is the color of death, deception, the

villainous, of loss of hope, of the opposite of innocence.

It would be a mistake to read the poem as a comment on an individuals

experience with the vision of a dream. Blake always has many layers in

mind: one should remember that

Blake's own mind was enormous, and capable of juggling various meanings

simultaneously. Especially where Church, Innocence, Death, and such images

as demonic priests are involved, one can count on the hint of commentary on

society at large.

"The Garden of Love" stands as an excellent example of Blake¹s ability to

use simple meter and language as a foundation, and then twist the foundation

ever so subtly to induce a particular idea.
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