Mark Edmundson, a professor of English on the College of Virginia, writes if Blake have been to recast “London,” in all probability his best-known poem, for the makes use of of the current, the poet is likely to be inclined to re-title it “New York” or “Washington”.
Right here the query pops up, what prompts professor Edmundson to make this assertion about Blake in 2010 when the poet was engaged within the pursuit of writing nearly 200 years in the past? Those that have seen the sordid underbelly of recent day New York and Washington and perceive the symbolic side of Blake’s a lot talked about poem “London”, will certainly have the ability to set up the join by placing the dots collectively.
Wandering by the streets of London, a brutal realisation dawns upon the poet, when he witnesses the ugly sights of distress unfold all about.
The poet feels inexplicably agitated and irate over the rampant prevalence of a number of social evils and rank corruption in faith.
Blake is tragically and painfully conscious of the fetters that incarcerate man and eventually smother his dwelling spirit to loss of life. He vividly sketches the ghoulish spectacle of his occasions and laments the predicament of a person who’s shackled from head to toe within the thoughts solid manacles.
Therefore, “London” just isn’t a mere geographical entity.
As macrocosm in microcosm, town of London symbolises the religious chapter and ethical deprivation, which have percolated right down to all of the segments of human life. Inarguably, critics recognise Blake and put him on fairly a lofty pedestal for the mystic parts in his oeuvre however the reality can’t be refuted that Blake was additionally a social maverick, a renegade at coronary heart and an iconoclast in his beliefs.
The poems enshrined in his second anthology, The Songs of Expertise are an outcry of a person who’s doubtlessly displeased and exasperated with the up to date circumstances. One other well-known poem “The Chimney Sweeper” is a sardonic satire on the scourge of kid labour.
Placing the poem within the social context, we perceive that it was the age of Industrial Revolution in England, which had undoubtedly introduced a plethora of prosperity to the privileged strata of society but it surely had concurrently hit a remaining nail within the coffin of the downtrodden.
Many poor harmless kids of tender age needed to work within the hazardous circumstances of mills and factories the place they might be pushed into these lethal funnels and chimneys resulting from their lean and smooth bodily construction. Not solely disgruntled with this rabid social injustice, Blake additionally drags divinity in dock when he satirically addresses God an ideal king who had made up this “ heaven” of miseries for the hapless kids. Persevering with with the identical string of thought in regards to the plight of youngsters, in his poem “Holy Thursday” Blake severely indicts the society that permits kids to outlive on charity.
The poet speaks of “babes lowered to distress” and “fed with chilly and usurious hand”. There’s endless winter within the life of those kids.
Right here, the query is pertinently raised how can a nation declare to be a “wealthy and fruitful land” when its kids are ravenous to loss of life and lots of of them have to attend for the 2 sq. meals a day from the so-called benefactors of society? Dwelling upon the mysticism in his poetry Blake will be aptly known as a religious “Orientalist” who as soon as famously declared that he had an Jap soul.
That’s the reason Blake’s strategy to poetry was Upanishad-related. The common consciousness and cosmic vastness lent profundity to Blake’s craftsmanship. He believed in Adi Shankara’s NonDualism (Advait) and was moved by Jap exclamation, Aham Brahmasmi (I’m the Reality). “An amanuensis, I write when God strikes my hand,” Blake wrote to Rudolph Glenns, to whom he bequeathed his poetry. Whereas writing his poem, “A Poison Tree”, Blake felt that God was writing by him.
Although metaphysical in nature, Blake didn’t consider in using non-public symbols and metaphors. Only a few are conscious that Blake knew wonderful French and wrote a French poem in 1821 eulogising two seemingly contrasting characters: John Keats and Napoleon Bonaparte, each breathed their final in 1821. That poem will be seen and skim at Louvre, Paris.
He wished that Napoleon ought to have used his pen greater than he used the bayonet. An irenic poet to the core, Blake was a pacifist and shunned violence of all kinds. He drew his philosophical insights from Buddha and Lao Tse. It will not be huge off the mark to say that Gerald Manley Hopkins and Blake impressed Tagore’s 103 poems in Gitanjali that received him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.
Subsequently, the indelible imprints Blake has left within the realms of literature can by no means be obliterated.
— to www.thestatesman.com