A ghastly tale told so very elegantly.... The boys reasoning quite astute, I think, but to be met with such barbarity for falling outside the norm... I often forget the treacherous and inhumane way people treated one another back then. Drawing and quartering - a ghastly execution style by which four horses are tied to the limbs and driven in four different directions - was still very popular method during Blake's lifetime. Trial by fire, or trial by water consisted of subjecting a person to either burning or drowning for a set period of time - if he survived then it was deemed that God found him innocent. Blake was 36 years old when Marie Antoinette had her head so grisly cut off. It's amazing to me how much beauty and depth of feeling we can find in the words of those who lived then.... having lived in such an inhospitable time.... that marks the greatest civility I can imagine.
I feel that this poem describes how people often put religion before basic morals, and in doing so they are actually defying the religion. Isn't the base of most religions, especially Christianity, be good to one another? Yet through out history, people have been tortured and killed, all in the name of their peace loving religion.
An amazing poem, not only for it's composition but for its content.
The Priest sat by and heard the child;
In trembling zeal he seized his hair,
He led him by his little coat,
And all admired the priestly care.
And standing on the altar high,
'Lo, what a fiend is here! said he:
'One who sets reason up for judge
Of our most holy mystery.'
The weeping child could not be heard,
The weeping parents wept in vain:
They stripped him to his little shirt,
And bound him in an iron chain,
And burned him in a holy place
Where many had been burned before;
The weeping parents wept in vain.
Are such thing done on Albion's shore?
There was a time when religious authorities had the power to slay those they accused of being heretics, in my universe, unthinkable! An amazing write, but then, William Blake was quite an amazing Soul!
The first two lines are a rebuttal of Jesus’ “love your neighbour as yourself.” The second two lines a rebuttal of metaphysical religion. The third two lines echo Cordelia's reply to King Lear when he asks what can she say to outdo her sisters’ exaggerated declarations of love for him:
Cordelia: Unhappy that I am, I cannot heave
My heart into my mouth: I love your Majesty
According to my bond, no more nor less
The reasonableness of Cordelia condemns her in the eyes of Lear. And the child is condemned for its reasonableness (in Blake’s eyes) by the Church which will condemn the child to eternity in the fires of Hell for it. The spirit of the Enlightenment is in this poem.
Love is love whether it is self love or natural love! How can a boy be selfless in love without the growth of knowledge and wisdom so early? Love itself is an individual emotional feeling which is believed to be a 'holy mystery'! Without loving oneself how can one love family and others in the world? A little boy is an innocent being! Such an extreme punishment of burning alive to death is no love at all in any sense! Natural love is real love which everyone should understand and practise in life to know the awesome nature of this holy mystery ever!
yes, such things ARE done on Albion's shore and everywhere else in the world. we have all come a long way since Blake but it seems all the 'development' and changes that have taken place are only an illusion. we have not changed. nothing has changed. Blake's world is our world and vice-versa. the only difference is that he mourned the loss of innocence and we are totally indifferent to it.Alas! what a gory state of affairs!
Blake's prophecies were not the product of an insane, crazy mind. we are all living in hell and we don't even realize that!