35 votes
Accepted

Accented è in Blake's "The little ones leapèd, and shoutèd, and laugh'd / And all the hills echoèd."

The 'èd' verb ending in 19th-century and earlier poems indicates that you are supposed to pronounce the ending -ed as a separate syllable. This is not the spelling Blake used when he originally wrote ...
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  • 8,033
11 votes
Accepted

What is the "starry pole" in Blake's "Songs of Experience"?

The phrase “starry pole” is a quotation from Milton’s Paradise Lost, whose book IV describes the life of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden: Thus, at their shady lodge arrived, both stood, Both ...
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  • 40.9k
11 votes
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What is the deeper meaning of "The Tyger"?

This answer is somewhat of a generalization of my self answer to Why did the stars throw down their spears? where I ended up analyzing most of the poem to explain the meaning of one particular, ...
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  • 1,853
11 votes

What are the "dark Satanic mills" in Blake's Jerusalem?

To approach this question, it's worth looking at the entirety of the passage that precedes it: The stolen and perverted writings of Homer and Ovid, of Plato and Cicero, which all men ought to ...
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  • 15.3k
9 votes
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Why did the stars throw down their spears?

One approach to interpreting these lines is to read them semi-literally: the tiger is such a fearsome creature that even the stars themselves threw down their weapons rather than face it, and wept at ...
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  • 1,853
7 votes
Accepted

What is "the Poetic Genius"?

"Genius" in the classical sense means "spirit". It's distantly related to the word genesis, meaning "birth", as well as to words like genus "kind", genre, and gender. Another related term you might ...
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  • 4,898
7 votes

What is the deeper meaning of "The Tyger"?

The perceived "banality" in relation to Innocence & Experience may be regarded as a device. In fact, the poems are all quite profound, but structured in a way as to be suitable for children as ...
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  • 4,010
7 votes
Accepted

What is "the Throne of Mammon grey" in William Blake's "I Rose Up at the Dawn of Day"?

The throne of Mammon is implicitly contrasted with the throne of God, which is mentioned in the next stanza. The throne of God is described in Revelation 4: 3-6 (King James Bible Online; emphasis mine)...
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  • 39.2k
7 votes
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Why is the robin "sobbing"?

Executive summary: the sparrow is the lover, and the robin is the child [thank you @PeterShor for cutting through the undergrowth]. Which might well invalidate my interpretation below :o) Why a robin? ...
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7 votes
Accepted

What is the meaning of Blake's poem "The Sick Rose"?

There is no one answer: a key part of this poem's appeal is its ambiguity. On the surface, it seems a poetic description of a rose flower sickening and dying due to a parasitic infection. However, ...
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  • 14.8k
6 votes
Accepted

Does "the" only serve to preserve metre in "The Tyger"?

‘The Tyger’ contains a series of rhetorical questions, which we understand to be about the nature of the creator of the Tyger. The first questions are given in conventional English syntax: What ...
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  • 40.9k
6 votes

Are Songs of Experience and Songs of Innocence actually songs? Or is the word song a metaphor?

There's a substantial body of evidence that the title "Songs of Innocence" points to the fact that the poems were intended to be sung. In the article William Blake and the Music of the Songs, Kevin ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Who first claimed that Blake’s “dark Satanic Mills” referred to the Church of England, and what was their argument?

David Daiches, in his book Critical Approaches to Literature (1956) (borrowed via the Internet Archive) says Sometimes scholarship can produce startling interpretations of the meaning of a work, e.g. ...
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  • 8,033
5 votes

Why is "The Chimney Sweeper" in Songs of Innocence rather than Songs of Experience?

There are actually two "Chimney Sweeper" poems: one in Innocence and one in Experience. You can see them both in the full text of Songs of Innocence and of Experience, by Ctrl+F'ing for "chimney". ...
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  • 64.3k
5 votes
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How many of the Songs of Innocence and of Experience come in pairs?

Let's start by listing the titles of all the Songs, and noting that you can read them in full here. I'll now discuss various possible pairings among these poems, but bear in mind that there's no ...
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  • 64.3k
4 votes

Does Blake appeal to his readers' faith in the last stanza of "Holy Thursday"?

the title “Holy Thursday” implies a religious context, making ["Blake appeals to his readers' faith"] also correct. That sentence from the textbook betrays a remarkable lack of understanding of ...
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  • 64.3k
4 votes

What are the "dark Satanic mills" in Blake's Jerusalem?

I agree with @verbose, there is no reason to assume Blake didn't mean mills or factories when he said Mills. If drawing a parallel to churches does exist it is fairly subtle. Here's another way to ...
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4 votes

What are the "mind-forged manacles"?

According to W. H. Stevenson's edition of Blake's complete poems (in the series Longman Annotated English Poets), the original phrase was "german-forged manacles", "suggesting the strength of skilled ...
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  • 39.2k
4 votes

Rhymes in William Blake's 'The Tyger'

No! Here is an example that proves how Blake pronounces "eyes", from Songs of Innocence: Sweet moans, dovelike sighs, Chase not slumber from thy eyes. Sweet moans, sweeter smiles, All the ...
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  • 1,566
3 votes

What does "chartered" mean in Blake's poem "London"?

My sense is that Blake is talking about ownership, and the idea that the natural rights of people to the land and its resources is restricted by the artificial laws of man. Charter (noun) formal ...
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  • 4,010
3 votes
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What are the "mind-forged manacles"?

The original punctuation of the poem seems to be: I wander thro' each charter'd street, Near where the charter'd Thames does flow, And mark in every face I meet Marks of weakness, marks of ...
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  • 8,033
3 votes
Accepted

Did William Blake intend The Tyger to resemble a nursery rhyme?

Compare the illuminated versions of The Songs of Innocence and of Experience, wherein we find The Tyger to the roughly contemporary Tommy Thumb's Song Book and there are many similarities. The Tommy ...
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3 votes
Accepted

Could "mark" in "London" by William Blake be meant as a name?

This sense of mark (to take note of) is found here¹: Notice or pay careful attention to. ‘he'll leave you, you mark my words!’ It doesn’t look like it’s intended to refer to a name, just a simple ...
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3 votes

What are the "mind-forged manacles"?

The assumption in other answers is that "ban" refers to censorship or prohibitions, but it probably refers to marriage bans. This explains the last line's reference to the marriage hearse, ...
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3 votes
Accepted

Is there any significance to Blake's choice of the name Lyca?

Blake's poems are cryptic and invite multiple interpretations. To my amazement, while researching this question I found that the 26 stanzas of these two poems inspired, among other things, an academic ...
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  • 14.8k
2 votes

What is the meaning of Blake's poem "The Sick Rose"?

William Blake was a Christian and so he is therefore using biblical symbolism. The rose symbolizes a Christian, specifically the Rose of Sharon, aka, the Lily of the Valley, in the Song of Solomon.(...
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2 votes

Bright or brightly?

I have never met Sherri Poterfield so obviously I can only speculate on why she made this choice. But that I will do! The Poterfield's melody begins with a musical structure that is called a "Satz" (...
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  • 181
1 vote

Literary or rhetorical term meaning "past for the future"?

Analysis of the question Here is my attempt to analyze the argument in the question, as clarified in the comments below it. I hope this is fair. (premise) The first stanza of the poem refers to a ...
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  • 40.9k
1 vote

Could "mark" in "London" by William Blake be meant as a name?

I doubt Blake meant to refer to the name. If you want to look for other meanings of "mark" than the two literal ones apparent in the antanaclasis, though, it's worth considering masons' marks and Mark ...
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