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William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: Javier (---.user.ono.com)
Date: May 04, 2005 12:03PM

I'd like to know what he thinks about it.
I think he has good feelings but I don't understand the last paragraph when he says "himself". And who is "her" in the second paragraph?

To Autumn
William Blake.

O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain'd
With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit
Beneath my shady roof; there thou may'st rest,
And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe,
And all the daughters of the year shall dance!
Sing now the lusty song of fruits and flowers.

"The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;
Blossoms hang round the brows of Morning, and
Flourish down the bright cheek of modest Eve,
Till clust'ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather'd clouds strew flowers round her head.

"The spirits of the air live in the smells
Of fruit; and Joy, with pinions light, roves round
The gardens, or sits singing in the trees."
Thus sang the jolly Autumn as he sat,
Then rose, girded himself, and o'er the bleak
Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load.

I think there is something hidden in this poem...


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: May 04, 2005 12:37PM

Javier, he has personified the seasons. In the second stanza "her" refers to Summer, and in the last stanza "himself" refers to Autumn

Although there is much metaphor in the poem, I don't believe there is anything hidden. Just read it with the idea that the seasons, principally Autumn, have the characteristics of people.


Les


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: May 04, 2005 01:45PM

I think there are two different "her" personae in verse two.


"The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins..."

Here, I believe HER refers to the bud, the baby flower just opening.



Till clust'ring Summer breaks forth into singing,
And feather'd clouds strew flowers round her head.

Here I agree that "her head" means Summer's head.


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: lg (---.ca.charter.com)
Date: May 04, 2005 01:49PM

You're right about that, Marian. I hadn't noticed that he also personifies the flowers in the second stanza.


Les


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: Pam Adams (---.bus.csupomona.edu)
Date: May 04, 2005 04:18PM

No, nothing hidden- as Les and Marian say, the seasons, the flowers and happinesss- 'Joy' are all being treated as if they are people.

'Girded himself' means putting on armor or perhaps protective clothing.

pam


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.phoenix-01rh15-16rt.az.dial-access.att.net)
Date: May 04, 2005 04:56PM

There are also two speakers - see the quotation marks. The first speaker invites Autumn to stay. The quotes are Autumn's response. Then the first speaker returns to deliver his golden load line, whatever that may mean.

I'm guessing the bud means Spring, then Summer comes on the scene. Why Autumn does not include itself or Winter, I can only speculate, but Blake did several other 'nature/seasons' verses as well.

Something hidden? Of course there is something hidden! Why else would there be 10 syllables in every single line except these three:

O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stain'd (9)

Till clust'ring Summer breaks forth into singing (11)

Hills fled from our sight; but left his golden load (11)


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: May 04, 2005 06:57PM

Maybe what's "hidden" is just the idea that when it's autumn, you want it to stay that way. You wish you could postpone the arrival of winter. But you can't.


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: Pam Adams (---.bus.csupomona.edu)
Date: May 04, 2005 08:23PM

I would say that the 'golden load' is the fallen leaves. (are the fallen leaves?) Unless of course, Winter scared the sh*t out of Autumn.

pam


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: glenda (---.hsd1.tx.comcast.net)
Date: May 04, 2005 08:45PM

I know it does me.


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: Javier (---.user.ono.com)
Date: May 05, 2005 11:36AM

Ok, Now I can understand it better. I thought when he wrote "her" and "himself" he refered to someone. Now I see he has personified seasons.
Then I think he likes autumn compared to with Charles Baudelaire's Autumn poem or Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Autumn: A Dirge". Take a look to these poems:

Autumn (Charles Baudelaire)

Soon we will plunge ourselves into cold shadows,
And all of summer's stunning afternoons will be gone.
I already hear the dead thuds of logs below
Falling on the cobblestones and the lawn.

All of winter will return to me:
derision, Hate, shuddering, horror, drudgery and vice,
And exiled, like the sun, to a polar prison,
My soul will harden into a block of red ice.

I shiver as I listen to each log crash and slam:
The echoes are as dull as executioners' drums.
My mind is like a tower that slowly succumbs
To the blows of a relentless battering ram.

It seems to me, swaying to these shocks, that someone
Is nailing down a coffin in a hurry somewhere.
For whom? -- It was summer yesterday; now it's autumn.
Echoes of departure keep resounding in the air.


Autumn: A Dirge
(Percy Bysshe Shelley)

The warm sun is falling, the bleak wind is wailing,
The bare boughs are sighing, the pale flowers are dying,
And the Year
On the earth is her death-bed, in a shroud of leaves dead,
Is lying.
Come, Months, come away,
From November to May,
In your saddest array;
Follow the bier
Of the dead cold Year,
And like dim shadows watch by her sepulchre.

The chill rain is falling, the nipped worm is crawling,
The rivers are swelling, the thunder is knelling
For the Year;
The blithe swallows are flown, and the lizards each gone
To his dwelling.
Come, Months, come away;
Put on white, black and gray;
Let your light sisters play--
Ye, follow the bier
Of the dead cold Year,
And make her grave green with tear on tear.


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-01rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: May 05, 2005 12:40PM

Strange rhyme scheme in the Baudelaire. I wonder how it is in the original.


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: Pam Adams (---.bus.csupomona.edu)
Date: May 05, 2005 02:30PM

Yes, these poems are looking at Autumn as sad- because it proves the loss of Summer.

pam


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: Desi (---.adsl.proxad.net)
Date: May 05, 2005 02:44PM

less strange:

Chant d'Automne

I

Bientôt nous plongerons dans les froides ténèbres;
Adieu, vive clarté de nos étés trop courts!
J'entends déjà tomber avec des chocs funèbres
Le bois retentissant sur le pavé des cours.

Tout l'hiver va rentrer dans mon être: colère,
Haine, frissons, horreur, labeur dur et forcé,
Et, comme le soleil dans son enfer polaire,
Mon coeur ne sera plus qu'un bloc rouge et glacé.

J'écoute en frémissant chaque bûche qui tombe
L'échafaud qu'on bâtit n'a pas d'écho plus sourd.
Mon esprit est pareil à la tour qui succombe
Sous les coups du bélier infatigable et lourd.

II me semble, bercé par ce choc monotone,
Qu'on cloue en grande hâte un cercueil quelque part.
Pour qui? — C'était hier l'été; voici l'automne!
Ce bruit mystérieux sonne comme un départ.

II

J'aime de vos longs yeux la lumière verdâtre,
Douce beauté, mais tout aujourd'hui m'est amer,
Et rien, ni votre amour, ni le boudoir, ni l'âtre,
Ne me vaut le soleil rayonnant sur la mer.

Et pourtant aimez-moi, tendre coeur! soyez mère,
Même pour un ingrat, même pour un méchant;
Amante ou soeur, soyez la douceur éphémère
D'un glorieux automne ou d'un soleil couchant.

Courte tâche! La tombe attend; elle est avide!
Ah! laissez-moi, mon front posé sur vos genoux,
Goûter, en regrettant l'été blanc et torride,
De l'arrière-saison le rayon jaune et doux!

— Charles Baudelaire


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-01rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: May 05, 2005 06:41PM

Hey, Chuck Baudelaire didn't understand the rules of rhyme at all! Interesting, thanks, Desi!


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: Desi (---.adsl.proxad.net)
Date: May 05, 2005 07:11PM

uh, the rhyme scheme is very regular:
abab cdcd efef ghgh ijij ckck lmlm

courts and cours are pronounced the same.


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (---.nycmny83.covad.net)
Date: May 06, 2005 09:29AM

Isn't French like Italian where everything rhymes anyway?


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: Elliot (149.123.60.---)
Date: May 23, 2005 12:57PM

"Her" in the second paragraph referes to the bud.

"The narrow bud opens her beauties to
The sun, and love runs in her thrilling veins;

"Himself" in last, refers to Autumn; Autumn girds himself and departs, indicating a rather sudden onset of Winter; like, opps! gotta go, see ya...; I see Pam Adams' point.

Pretty much a straight forward work of great art - Thank You William Blake. I vote with Marion-NYC; hidden meanings are in the mind of the beholder. I am surprised no one has brought up Yeat's To Autumn, which, to is a bit more sublime.

E.


Re: William Blake's Autumn poem...
Posted by: Elliot (149.123.60.---)
Date: May 23, 2005 01:09PM

Opps! It was John Keats' To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.




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