Hey there! Welcome to our blog. We hope it helps you to better understand some of the poems and art by William Blake in a fun, creative way. Enjoy and feel free to comment!


Blake's 'The Garden of Love'


I laid me down upon a bank,
Where Love lay sleeping;
I heard among the rushes dank
Weeping, weeping.

Then I went to the heath and the wild,
To the thistles and thorns of the waste;
And they told me how they were beguiled,
Driven out, and compelled to the chaste.

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen;
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And 'Thou shalt not' writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tombstones where flowers should be;
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.


The Garden of Love is a poem that is describing the corrupting effect organized religion has upon mankind. It places most of its emphasis on religion's ability to replace simple joys with rules and regulations ("And binding with briars my joys and desires".) Blake is saying that religion doesn't allow us to live freely. Simple tasks that should be enjoyable and free to do at will are not. By saying that the doors of the chapel are shut, Blake is commenting on the exclusive privilege of those who attend the church. The Garden of Love represents innocence and simplicity; and now that it is filled with graves and all of the flowers are gone it really says a lot about the effect the church has had on society. My favorite part of the poem is definitely the last stanza. It has a very powerful effect on the reader, and any doubt the reader might have had as to what the poem might really be about is quickly put to rest. (“And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds”.) Blake is very obvious about his thoughts on religion within his poetry, connecting back to the Romanticism point of view. The Romantics did not believe that religion should tell us how we should live, and this poem really illustrates this. Innocence is also represented in this poem with the open spaces and green field, and Blake often makes similar references within his other works. The altered landscape also represents that something has changed within the speaker, especially the detail and the way it is described. For some reason, whenever I read this poem I think of playing in fields as a kid and the great sense of freedom that comes along with it. No parents to watch your every move, and no limits to how far you can run or how many flowers you can pick. The ultimate sense of freedom. I can see how Blake often referred to green in his poems and why it represented freedom.  This causes me to connect with what Blake is saying, that no one should control the way they want to live because of a controlling church in society.


Pretty funny, also kind of creepy.

Click on the image to enlarge!


William Blake as an Artist

William Blake was one of the first romantic poets as well as an incredible painter, printer and one of the greatest engravers in English history. Blake was also considered insane and was largely disregarded by his fellow peers but through that all he became known as not only one of the greatest English Literature contributors of all times, but also a major contributor to the arts. Blake’s ambitions began at an early age of 14. He became interested in the arts and poetry and attended a drawing school where he learned to engrave when assigned to apprentice James Basir. He completed a seven year term at the drawing school. He opened a print shop in 1784 but quickly came to a close when the business dropped miserably. William Blake made a living off of the engravings and illustrations that he made. He married in the year 1782 to a woman named Catharine who helped him advance his small career. Ironically Catharine was also his mother’s name, who gave birth to him on November 28th 1757, His father James Blake worked as a hosier meaning he sold hosiery. William Blake taught his wife Catharine to read and write and also was her instructor in draftsmanship. This is how she later helped him begin printing his poetry, which is still being read nearly 230 years later. Not only did he teach his wife but he also began training his younger brother Robert in drawing, painting, and engraving. Robert fell ill during the winter of 1787 and died. As Robert died, Blake saw his brother's spirit rise up through the ceiling, "clapping its hands for joy." He believed that Robert's spirit continued to visit him and later claimed that in a dream Robert taught him the printing method that he used in Songs of Innocence and other "illuminated" works. This is what also mad people believe that he was in deed a mad man for his belief in the visits of his younger brother.