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Comparing The Sick Rose, My Pretty Rose Tree, and The Lily Essay

Decent Essays
Comparing The Sick Rose, My Pretty Rose Tree, and The Lily

William Blake was born in London on November 28, 1757, to James, a hosier, and Catherine Blake. Two of his six siblings died in infancy. From early childhood, Blake spoke of having visions—at four he saw God "put his head to the window”. Since then Blake’s vision was based on the idea of cosmology and that’s where he got his framework of images and ideas. Blake takes traditional images and presents them in a fresh form unlike other poets (for example, Robert Burns’ “My Love is Like a Red Red Rose’). As he was a contemporary writer, he has his own conventional ways.

He published his most popular collection, Songs of Innocence, in 1789
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Worms are essentially earthbound, and symbolize death and decay. So the worm could be a metaphor, a serpent and this reinforces the idea of jealousy and the fear in the world of experience and how it destroys your hope for a better life. The "bed" into which the worm creeps signifies both the natural flowerbed and also the lovers' bed. The rose is sick, and the poem implies that love is sick as well. Yet the rose is unaware of its sickness. Of course, an actual rose could not know anything about its own condition, and so the emphasis falls on the allegorical suggestion that it is love that does not recognize its own ill state. This results partly from the dangerous secrecy with which the "worm" performs its work of corruption--not only is it invisible, it enters the bed at night. This secrecy indeed constitutes part of the infection itself. The "crimson joy" of the rose connotes both sexual pleasure and shame, thus joining the two concepts in a way that Blake thought was perverted and unhealthy. The rose's joyful attitude toward love is tainted by the aura of shame and secrecy that our culture attaches to love. The rose and the worm coming together could also be seen as a sadomasochistic relationship. Blake believed that true love was the greatest of all human gifts.

It is a very condensed poem but has very deep
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