Sunday, April 18, 2010


Here is an article titled Method in Blake's "Mad Song" by F. R. Duplantier.

So many meanings can be attached to these few lines from Blake's Poetical Sketches that they become a Rorschach test revealing the observer more than the observed.

This is what I can see in "Mad Song"; I invite you to look carefully for what you see in the words and how you respond to them.

In the first verse the speaker invites into himself the world of fear and woe. He knows he is turning away from pleasant things: light and warmth and joy. The interplay of the contraries at the intersection of night and day create the movement, the dance, the catalytic reaction. The day is too calm, too bright; he chooses to stay at that turbulent intersection where the unexpected may take place. The uncertainty, the insecurity, the unpredictability may be painful but it allows his brain to be seized by the light which is beyond his control: the ever welcome vision.

Poetical Sketches, MAD SONG, (E 414)

"The wild winds weep,
And the night is a-cold;
Come hither, Sleep,
And my griefs infold:

But lo! the morning peeps
Over the eastern steeps,
And the rustling birds of dawn
The earth do scorn.

Lo! to the vault
Of paved heaven,
With sorrow fraught
My notes are driven:
They strike the ear of night,
Make weep the eyes of day;
They make mad the roaring winds,
And with tempests play.

Like a fiend in a cloud
With howling woe,
After night I do croud,
And with night will go;
I turn my back to the east,

From whence comforts have increas'd;
For light doth seize my brain
With frantic pain."

This speaker has quite the opposite reaction to that of Thel when she withdrew from the opportunity to gain Experience.

'Like a fiend in a cloud'

No comments: