The poem To The Evening Star by William Blake is an English poet, painter, and printmaker. He was born on 28 November in London in 1757. Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age.
To The Evening Star: Meaning
“To the evening star” is an ode to Venus. Venus is considered to be the Roman Goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. It is a sonnet by the Romantic poet. In To The Evening Star by William Blake poem, the poet is calling upon “Her” (Venus) to protect us against the evils of the night and, more importantly to inspire “whilst the sun rest” all that is oppressed during the daytime. The star represents the transcendent moments of the struggle between oppositions.
To the Evening Star: Explanation
He addresses “Her” as a “fair-haired angel of the evening” who can light a lovely bright torch at night to remove the darkness and wears a glowing crown on her head, and smiles upon the evening bed of humankind. “Now, whilst the sun rests on the mountains light” implies that even the sturdy mountains that have endured all forms of hardship have to surrender to the inevitable night. It is a “bright torch” while all else is dark, presenting a juxtaposition to the transcendent symbol. The poet proceeds to say that the Goddess Venus makes the fine morning and scatters the dew on every flower that shuts its silver eyes. These lines augment the beauty of the poem and make it surreal. But Venus cries “tears of dew” as she herself is aware of humankind’s fallen state on earth, where sexual creativeness operates in a degrading manner and is symbolized by savage beasts. The poet expresses the idea that the stars bring peace and provide guidance to mankind during the normally forbidding night. The poet uses anastrophes to address the star directly. For instance, the poet urges the star to “smile upon our evening beds.” This annotation brings about a romantic and soothing essence to the poem and shows the poet’s belief that stars have the ability to turn a dark night into a calm and dreamy one.
To The Evening Star: Analysis
We find the usage of metaphors and symbolism in this poem. For instance, the wolf symbolizes the night: it has grey fur and has an affinity for the night. On the other hand, the lion with golden fur is a symbol of the glorious morning. “The lion glares through the dun forest” implies the uncertainty that lies at the hours of the night, but eventually, the night gives into the morning, arousing a ray of hope. Finally, he maintains that “the wolf rages” is the emblem of evil. He uses metaphors to compare the evening star to the “fair-haired angel.” It is used to express the shining star as a beautiful Goddess who silently looks upon the people at night. She is deemed to be our guardian angel. The poet calls the star a bright torch of love that denotes a star’s radiant and heroic quality. The narrator is young (as Blake himself was at the time), and his frustration between these opposing forces is placed on the table to deal with; youth and age, tyrant and slave, day and night, male and female, prey and predator.
There are three main considerations to be taken from “The Evening Star” One is the theme of pastoral simplicity. In the last two lines, the speaker appeals to God for the first time by recognizing his inferiority and potential impotence when it comes to protecting his flock from the fall of grace. The second is political entrapment. Again, the speaker knows that it is during the night when Venus’s “radiant crown” holds the power to put an end to all of the daytime’s rules (change the color of the sky, put the flowers to sleep, calm the wind). Alas, the excitement and bliss of the unencumbered will “soon withdraw,” and just as in man’s law-abiding society, the force of opposition governs all of Blake’s inhibitions.
Lastly is sexual desire. The narrator here is simply looking for an excuse, any sort of blessing, to act upon his primitive desire to mate with the opposite sex. Knowing an appeal to reason, religion, or God is out of the question. He turns to the nighttime nature queen in hopes of approval. This poem presents the triumph of good over evil and that the night will eventually give away to the morning. It arouses an emotion of never-ending hope and possibility in the reader’s mind. It imparts the invaluable lesson of praying to God and casting off our worries into his hands. The poem ends on an ecstatic note leaving a faint glimmering of hope in the reader’s heart.
To The Evening Star: Central Idea
Blake wrote this poem to possibly show the huge effect nature has on one’s everyday life. For instance, without the star, the night would be too dark and forbidding for us. However, the presence of the star lightens the ambiance and imparts a peaceful and romantic aura to the night. He also further proceeds to show how nature can protect our fragile lives. The poet claims that the star protects the people from the violent lion and the raging wolf lurking in the darkness amidst the forest. At the same time, he beautifies and portrays the innocence of nature. The flowers “shut its sweet eyes” brings forth a sweet and subdued tone to the poem.
Furthermore, the poet successfully illustrates how all the elements of nature can come together to create a beautiful, impeccable, and perfect situation. For instance, the star shines brightly, the lake reflects the light, and the wind gently blows. These three actions come together to produce beautiful scenery which humans can observe and relish. The poet, through this poem, fosters the feeling of deep appreciation and love for nature. As a result, the reader feels grateful and indebted to nature for providing us with its beauty and care.
Updated by Anjali Roongta on 22nd April 2023.
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