I'm looking for more meanings to A Little Girl Lost by William Blake. I think it is about a maiden girl that met a boy at night with out her Fathers permission and was caught. What do you think?
Can you or someone post it for us?
Click on Classical Poet List, then on William Blake, and you'll find it there.
Children of the future age,
Reading this indignant page,
Know that in a former time
Love, sweet love, was thought a crime.
In the age of gold,
Free from winter's cold,
Youth and maiden bright,
To the holy light,
Naked in the sunny beams delights.
Once a youthful pair,
Filled with softest care,
Met in garden bright
Where the holy light
Had just removed the curtains of the night.
Then, in rising day
On the grass they play;
Parents were afar, Strangers came not near,
And the maiden soon forgot her fear.
Tired with kisses sweet,
They agree to meet
When the silent sleep
Waves o'er heaven's deep,
And teh weary tired wanderers weep.
To her father white
Came the maiden bright;
But his loving look, Like the holy book
All her tender limbs with terror shook.
"Ona, pale and week,
To thy father speak!
Oh the trembling fear!
Oh the dismal care
That shakes the blossoms of my hoary hair!"
Echoes of the garden of Eden?
I don't suppose you would be receptive to the suggestion that hoary hair was a pun on whorey heir, wudja?
I walked abroad in a snowy day
I askd the soft snow with me to play
She playd & she melted in all her prime
And the winter calld it a dreadful crime
Where Blake seems to be equating loss of virginity with a criminal act.
Kind of reminds me of the old song "Chilren behave/that's what they say when we're together/watch how you play.......running just as fast as we can/holding on to one another's hand.
You get it.
My take on this is different. Here's what it says to me.
Blake starts by saying:
" . . . in a former time
Love, sweet love, was thought a crime"
and then he gives an illustration of what that meant. He tells about two healthy kids who love each other, who are "naked" as seen by "the holy light" (as Adam and Eve were before the fall). And they plan to meet at night -- that is, to have sex. And that would have been fine.
But she -- at this point still a "maiden" -- catches the eye of her father and he sees in her some sign of her excitement, and makes it out to be something horrible.
Blake is talking about the parental attitudes of his own time, so when he says "in a former time" he's pretending to be speaking to generations far in the future, saying "We used to be THAT hung up about sex and especially virginity."
To put it another way, he's saying to people of his own time: "In the future, people will look back on our stifling social codes and think what idiots we were to create so much suffering where there could have been joy."
THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT BLAKE WAS FOR "FREE LOVE" ! He had his own extremely strict moral code, and a lot of that was about purity and strength and renunciation and such.
But his was not a code of behavior based on "the holy book" or social norms. He might have said something like this: What you embark upon freely, what you swear with a whole heart, what you dedicate yourself to with idealism -- those are your good deeds. What you secretly, feeling guilty about it, or hypocritically -- those are your sins.
For comparison, see "The Sick Rose"; she is sick because she is ashamed of her acts and keeps them secret. The girl in this poem is "lost" only when her father yanks her out of her natural blossoming and introduces fear into the picture.
SOMEONE WHO KNOWS MORE ABOUT BLAKE -- PLEASE POST IF I AM TOTALLY OFF TARGET HERE.
Well, yeah, either that or the hoary heir, sure.
It is also tempting to try and meld the various little girls lost and little boys lost (and all found) from both SOI & SOE in search of a common theme, but I ever could find one.
It must have been particularly vexing for Blake, knowing everyone else was wrong, and not a thing he could do about it. Except write cryptic poetic exposès on it while safely covering his own heretic buns with the obscurities. Cowardly wise about that.
I seem to remember he did get locked up for something, but I can't remember if it was heresy or treason or some other charge. Some kind of tussle with a soldier, mebbe.
He was tried for sedition (in 1803?) after a dispute with a soldier, but aquitted.
Yeah, sedition, that's the right word. Don't hear it used any more, happily.
"From 1800 to 1803, Blake and his wife lived at the seaside village of Felpham before moving back to London. Upon his return to London, Blake was met with accusations that he had uttered seditious sentiments while expelling a soldier from his garden at Felpham. He was tried for sedition and acquitted in 1804."
News to me! Inspiration for "Songs of Innocence and Acquittal" ?
Seems to me 'they' sent a soldier over to his house to clean some junk out of the yard. Blake supposedly ordered the lackey off his property, saying something to the effect that all soldiers were nothing but slaves to The King, and he would not have them around.
There must be more to the story, I suspect. I mean, if one is King, and wants someone's yard cleaned up, why not merely command it be done by the owner? That's a perk of being the king!
Having poets next door is always bad for property values.
Well, yes, especially grumpy ones that wander around the yard spouting double dactyls.