Holy Thursday by William Blake

The poem consists of four short stanzas, of four lines each. Blake, the speaker of the poem, speaks directly to the reader avoids referring to himself in the first person. This poem is unusual in that it contains four rhetorical questions in the span of two stanzas. While Blake often makes use of exclamations, the use of this many question marks is uncommon in his poetry. Rather than dealing with spiritual or moral conflict, Blake uses language to make a kind of social commentary on his times. As a result, the poem’s conflict that is social in nature.

I do not know about the significance of the title.

The Sick Rose by William Blake

This is a relatively short poem which consists of two stanzas of four lines each. The speaker of the poem begins with an exclamation that he then supports with the sentence (the rest of the poem) that follows it. The speaker serves as an observer and his tone is consistent throughout. The poem’s conflict appears to be both internal and external. The internal conflict which afflicts the rose is conveyed using the imagery of “the invisible worm” which acts to destroy the rose’s life. The title of the poem which puts forth the image of “the sick rose” brings this internal conflict to the surface.

The Human Abstract by William Blake

This poem consists of six stanzas, of four lines each. It is philosophical in nature and points out the necessity and need of the seemingly bad things (perhaps, outcomes) in the world. The first stanza uses words like pity and mercy to indicate that neither would be possible had “we” as people or human kind “not make somebody poor” and unhappy, respectively. This use of contrast to indicate what brings about the opposite is a theme that repeats throughout the poem. For example, Blake uses the symbol of “mutual fear” to indicate that it brings about peace.

The image of Cruelty is personified as a man who takes in human kind’s “holy fears” and turns them into sorrow and suffering (“And waters the ground with tears”). This and other metaphors that use man as a stand in for the concepts of ‘cruelty’ and ‘humility’ reinforces the title of the poem, ‘The Human Abstract.’

As a side note, the poem is a beautiful illustration of what the human brain is capable of. As a philosophical poem, it is applicable to the world on both macro (global, national, city, neighborhood) and micro (family, individual) levels. While news, politicians and television programming tend to appeal to our cynical and selfish sides, the poem can serve as a reminder that human kind is also capable of beautiful things like this.

Echoing Green by William Blake

This is a brief poem, a little longer than a sonnet, which contains many images of a joyful summer. The stanzas and lines are consistent in length, both relatively short. Each of the three stanzas contains ten lines and each line contains about four to six words each. The brevity of the poem gives it a kind of spring-ness, when it is read out loud. The images found in the first stanza set the stage by containing words such as spring, sun, skies, and birds which all contribute to evoking the idea of “the echoing green.” The second stanza gives the poem perspective by creating a contrast between youth and old age (personified as “Old John with white hair”). The third stanza ties the two sets of images by intertwining the image of “many sisters and brothers” with images of nature “like birds in their nest.”