“Night” is a magnificent composition by William Blake and revolves around the genre of romanticism. The poem is laden with religious references and mythological legends.
About the Poet:
Born in London on November 28, 1757, William Blake is one of the most famous English poets. The main genre associated with William Blake’s works is romance.
There is no obvious or stated physical setting in the poem. Though the speaker does describe a beautiful landscape, a place from a fantasy, the poem is set in the form of a dialogue that revolves around this fantasy land.
Night: Poetic Devices
“Farewell green fields and happy groves,”
“Seeking to drive their thirst away,”
“And pitying the tender cries,
And walking round the fold:
Saying: wrath by his meekness
And by his health, sickness.”
“With silent delight
Sits and smiles on the night.”
The moon has been personified.
“The moon, like a flower,”
“When wolves and tigers howl for prey (A)
They pitying stand and weep; (B)
Seeking to drive their thirst away, (A)
And keep them from the sheep. (B)
But if they rush dreadful; (C)
The angels most heedful, (C)
Receive each mild spirit. (D)
New worlds to inherit.” (D)
The speaker starts by indicating that it is nighttime, the sun is descending in the west direction, and the evening star is shining bright (evening star is another name for planet venus), the birds have gone silent in their nests, that is, the birds have gone to sleep, and the speaker too should head towards his home. The moon has been compared to a flower to express its beauty.
The speaker says that the moon sits high in heaven, smiling in delight during the silent night. The speaker then bids farewell to the daytime during which flocks of sheep and cattle graze on green fields and groves, the lambs nibble on the grass, and the angels visit the earth to bestow their blessings on every being, growing and sleeping, under the bright sun and the shining moonlight.
The speaker says that the angels look inside the homes of every being, the bird’s nest to make sure they are warm, and the beast’s cave to ensure their safety. If the angels find some creature weeping, they put calm and sleep in their head and sit beside their beds, blessing them with peaceful rest. The angels weep when they find the tigers and wolves in distress with hunger and try to bless them with peace. If the tigers and wolves can find prey, the angels take the souls of the dead animals to heaven, providing them with a new life, a new world.
The speaker then describes this new world where the lion now takes the form of a guard rather than a predator. The lion sheds tears of gold listening to the cries of the meek animals in pain; he walks around them, assuming a protective stance. In heaven, the lion says that he can now lie down and sleep beside the bleating lamb, he can think about the sufferings of Jesus Christ, his good deeds and weep with the lamb during his pain, the lion can now act as a protective shepherd or guard with a pure heart for the innocent lamb, his fur will shine like gold forever, he is now immortal.
Night: Critical Analysis
This beautiful poem written by Blake is filled with religious references and very vivid imagery that accounts for its magnificence. The lion, a predator, has been portrayed as Jesus in his pure and protective nature. “The lamb” is often associated with Jesus Christ for its trait of innocence. The poet has also revised the perspective regarding nighttime, portraying the beauty and purity of night instead of the negativity and gloom.
The tone of the poem is calm and peaceful, according to its context.
This is a very beautiful poem that reminds the readers of the magnificent nature and creatures that surround us.