How do you respond to the view that
In Songs of Innocence and of Experience, Blake employs natural imagery throughout his poems and in many of them love can be seen as being pure and natural. In Blake’s poem ‘My Pretty Rose Tree’ natural imagery runs all the way through the poem yet he has also expressed the Jealousy and complications In love. Poems such as London and The Clod and the Pebble show how love is tainted by corruption, which conveys to the reader the epitome of love and how its reality can show its hidden Immorality. In My Pretty Rose Tree different manifestations of love are shown as ndividual plants are personified.
The repetition of flower’ instead of the word ‘rose’ In the first stanza acts as a symbol to represent love and experiences and because of the use of a general term instead of the specific rose it can be perceived as the flower depicting love that’s being given to another woman. The speaker is presented with a flower ‘as may never bore’ yet returns It In loyalty. to the rose tree, then looks to tend to her by day and by night’ nevertheless the rose turn[s] away with Jealousy ortraying love with the Imagery of experience as the expectations of light romance come forth.
For his affection he is returned with thorns’ suggesting the speaker may be willing to pay the price for a continued relationship as the thorns represent the protection he may hold over her from other lovers and therefore he Is ‘delighted’ and reckons them as a symbol of love. In addition to this the speaker may find he is compelled to be In delight with the rose despite Its thorns, as he has rejected the flower and the pain of the thorns may be infinitely preferable to his fear of the nknown, Just as Adam and Eve with the fruit of knowledge, the flower takes the place of the fruit which offers experience yet comes with tempting propositions.
In contrast to the Jealousy portrayed in My Pretty Rose Tree, the Clod and the Pebble begins by displaying how love can be selfless by giving us two different perceptions. The clod has been trodden with the cattle’s feet’ allowing the interpretation that it is easily shaped to the will of others in contrast to the pebble which has been hardened by its time and so offers resistance to those who would use it to their own advantage.
He is the voice of innocence in the poem as he sings “Love seeketh not itself to please”, indicating to us that he thinks love Is selfless and that a lover would do many things Just to please the people he loves. Yet the clod goes on to further explain that ‘love for another gives its ease’, allowing us to interpret that many aspects of one’s life could be given up to be with the one he loves. Both the clod and the pebble have experienced loss yet theyre trying to make use of their environments by rejoicing from their recent familiarity with love.
Blake’s poem, London Is the epitome of orruption in love; it talks of a society of people who are so tightly packed into artificial structures and illustrates even the natural world – the ‘chartered Thames’, doesnt want to run through the city. ‘London’ talks more about familial love, where the repetition of ‘every is so prominent when talking specifically of ‘every man… t Of2 InTant… volce’ as tnougn tneyre supressea ana conTlnea to tne unnatural Inaustrlal city.
Blake sets up an ominous atmosphere from the onset, with the image of the harlot, looked upon with some sympathy when they talk of the youthful harlot’s curse which] blasts the new-born infant’s tear’ as it is looked upon as being youthful’. There is an idea of women being pushed into mature acts from a young age, being referred to as the ‘plague’, where Blake insinuates the sexually transmitted diseases that went around between prostitutes at that time and inevitably talks about how they will never find love for their cursed corrupt children.
This can be seen as perversion of maternity which concerns the sexual exploitation of women by the ruling elite. Love and nature has been stripped away, even though within this time here was an uproar of the industrial revolution, where people were striving towards hope and earning for a better life and instead theyre being replaced by ‘curses’ and constrained, chained ‘mind-forged manacles’ and their lives are in opposite to what they initially thought.
The poem ends on an oxymoron with ‘marriage hearse’ as on one hand it describes a Joyous affectionate ceremony in comparison to the image of death and unhappiness, suggesting marriage is the death of love and due to social status and modernisation, husbands will leave their wives to pursue other desires.