William Blake: Religion In Poems

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When William Blake was young he expressed how he envisioned angels up in the tree and would communicate with them daily; this is where his imagination sparked and where he realized that he wanted to portray his viewings. After Blake’s brother passed away he stated that he had seen his soul leave his body and start walking towards the gates of heaven, shocked and awakened Blake used this as a source of inspiration. The Sick Rose was first published in 1794 in William Blake’s Songs of Experience collection of poems. This collection was extremely impactful and displayed how Blake’s religion was what his work was mainly focused on. He stated “ he envisioned dead children—who had led miserable and dangerous existences as chimney sweeps—being visited in their graves by an angel who resurrects and frees them”( Burch). In line 1 “ O Rose thou art sick” shows how the rose represents virginity and the purity of the women’s flower and it signifies the love and innocence within her actions. The rose becomes sick when she gives up her flower to the mysterious man that visits her at night due to her no longer being innocent representing how society and its intentions sickens him. Blake’s beliefs are based off of the Moravian which many people mistake as its own religion which it is not; it is actually just similar to Amish or Mormons.” The invisible worm” Blake states in line 2 can be understood as a caterpillar because these insects eat rosebuds off of the flowers, causing them to die. This represents religion and death because it is known that insects consume dead bodies; this shows how everything falls into the circle of life. In line 5 “ Has found out thy bed “ shows how it is no longer a secret which in verse Luke 12:2 states ‘But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known” provides an example of the sins being committed that have been exposed to the open eye. Following line 6 that reads “ and his dark secret love” portrays how Blake’s love is dark resulting in the state where he must keep it a secret; in Blake’s religion secrets and lies are seen as one of the worst sins possible to commit because of the way respect was brought up during the 1700’s. Lastly in line 7 stating “ Does thy life destroy” represents how everything that is happening results in a life of chaos. Blake wrote this to represent how living in sin and committing horrible acts in secret can cause great grief.

In The Sick Rose William Blake expresses his feelings about his lovely mistress that must be kept a secret to protect his relationship with his family due to the fact that what he writes about is against everything he has been taught. Williams background is very influential which shaped him to be the poet, painter and sculptor he was; religion was the main source of inspiration for him which causes him to express himself through his art. William Blake was born on November 28,1757 during his early years he rarely attended school but was taught mainly at home and the bible was the curriculum his mother followed. This affected him tremendously leaving an impact on him that gave him a form of inspiration unlike others. According to Blake his early ambitions were not focused on poetry but on painting and at the age of 14, after attending drawing school, he was apprenticed to James Basire. Blake later was accepted into the Royal Academy of Arts and School Designs where he later started to display his own work; it was later known that Blake’s attitude towards the leader of the school, Sir Joshua Reynoldsa was very critical causing his stay there to be very brief. In positive terms about his stay there he managed to create a well companionship with John Flaxman and Henry Fuseli, scholastics whose work gave him inspiration for his paintings.

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William Blake is an outstanding writer who gains knowledge out of the common things of life and expresses his beliefs through his artwork. Religion and adultery are two main factors that can be interpreted through “ The Sick Rose” and it is clear to see how many ideas can be interpreted through a poem that only contains seven lines of nothing but pure self reflection. 


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