About the poet:
He is the son of Blake and Catherine Blake. The poem is part of songs of innocence written by Blake. Willam Blake is a ROMANTIC POET. He writes about nature.
*Structure of the poem*
The poem has 6 stanzas with 5 lines (quintet) each.
It has a rhyme scheme of Ababb
*Tone of the poem*
This is the way the writer expresses his feelings.
*Stanza 1: Happy/excited.. ‘I love to rise in a summer morn..’
Stanza 2 to 6: sober, sad, melancholy…’But to go to school on a summer morn
O! It drives all joy away’
*Setting of the poem*
This refers to the time and location of the poem
*Stanza one:* Early morning, in summer.
*Other Stanzas:* in the classroom
I love to rise in a summer morn,
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the skylark sings with me:
O what sweet company!
But to go to school in a summer morn,-
O it drives all joy away!
Under a cruel eye outworn,
The little ones spend the day
In sighing and dismay.
Ah then at times I drooping sit,
And spend many an anxious hour;
Nor in my book can I take delight,
Nor sit in learning’s bower,
Worn through with dreary shower.
How can the bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing?
How can a child, when fears annoy,
But droop his tender wing,
And forget his youthful spring!
O father and mother if buds are nipped,
And blossoms blown away;
And if the tender plants are stripped
Of their joy in the springing day,
By sorrow and care’s dismay,-
How shall the summer arise in joy,
Or the summer fruits appear?
Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy,
Or bless the mellowing year,
When the blasts of winter appear?
*About the Poem*
The poem is a romantic poem. William Blake uses his main character (the school boy) to shed light on the monotony of rigid school life. The boy wants to enjoy life and nature’s company but he has to forfeit these pleasures for the boring classroom. The poet uses the boy to voice out the resentment shared by many a child towards schooling. According to the boy, school life takes away the joys of childhood.
The poet uses nature elements such as tender plants, birds and spring to describe the boy.
*Stanza by stanza Analysis*
*Stanza 1:* The poet is a young boy who is happy to rise in the pleasant summer morning. The chirping of the birds announce the break of day.The boy gets entertained by the company of a hunter who blows his clarion from a distant field and sweet songs from the skylark who seems to be singing alongside the boy. The stanza one of this is in an idyllic (pastoral) setting.
*Stanza 2:* The joy of the boy fades and he is utterly disappointed because he has to attend school in a sweet summer morning when all he wants to do is to enjoy the glory of summer. He is tired and puzzled about the strict supervision of his teacher. In this stanza, the poet talks about how life is regimented In the classroom and this makes him and other children to sigh in dismay.
*Stanza 3:* The boy expresses is weariness in this stanza. He tells us about how he gets bored by the monotonous and unnecessary lectures imposed on him by teachers. He sees staying in the classroom as a waste of time and he his always anxious to leave it because books to him are not a source of joy. Due to the rigours and anxiousness he faces in school ,he droops when sitting and this portrays an imagery of tiredness and sadness.
*Stanza 4:* The boy compares himself with a caged bird by asking rhetorical questions. A bird who is born happy and free can never stay in a cage and be happy. Similarly, If a child is kept under a umbrella of fear, tension, and skepticism by his teachers, he can not also enjoy d natural instinct of joy and playfulness in him. By this, the boy sheds light on the predicaments of many a child.
Indeed,a world full of rigid courses of discipline will ruthlessly take away the beautiful youthful spring (childhood joy of one’s life).
*Stanza 5:* The child makes a plea to his parent to look into his predicament at school because he sees them as the only possible authority that can intervene in his situation. He wants them to know that he is not allowed to have a normal child’s life by the intricacies of school life. He speaks about his own childhood joys as being “buds” that are being “nipped” and “blossoms” that are blowing away. To him, his happiness is delicate, and it should be preserved at all costs.
He uses the metaphor ‘Tender plants’ to describe the children being affected by the rigours of school life. He makes use of rhetorical questions to question his parents.
*Stanza 6:* This stanza is simply states the consequences of allowing tell things stated in the previous stanza to happen.This simply means that if childhood pleasures and joy are monitored measured and truncated, one has to be sure that adulthood will and unproductive.
*Figures of speech*
1. *Apostrophe:* ‘O! Father and mother…’ stanza 5. He talks to his parents as if they are present with him in the class
2. *Symbolism:* It occurs when an object is invested with a meaning beyond its immediate reference.
A. *Bird:* a caged bird as used in d poem symbolizes a child who is sent to school when he wants is to play and enjoy the pleasant summer.
B. *Summer:* signifies childhood
C. *Tender Plants* represents children
NOTE: These symbols may also act as metaphors
3. *Rhetorical Question:* This is a question that requires no answer.
A. ‘How can the bird that is born for joy
Sit in a cage and sing?’
B. ‘How shall the summer arise in joy,
Or the summer fruits appear?’
C. ‘Or how shall we gather what griefs destroy,
Or bless the mellowing year,
When the blasts of winter appear?’
4. *Contrast:* A device that forcefully brings together two seemingly unrelated ideas or concept.
The second stanza contrasts the first stanza in the sense that ‘School’ drives away all the joy he was experiencing in the first stanza
1. Parental Responsibility
2. The Plight of School Children