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A Comparison Of Blake's "The Lamb" And Thomas' "Fern Hill"

930 words - 4 pages

Although many poets have outlined childhood and virtue in their poetry, none have done it quite like William Blake. His two collections of poems, "Songs of Innocence" and "Songs of Experience" defined views on purity versus corruptibility during the romantic era. One of his more popular poems, "The Lamb" reflects the ultimate image of wholesomeness and childhood. Likewise, Dylan Thomas, known for his masterful use of language, gives a detailed account of his childhood days at his aunt's farm in his well-known "Fern Hill." The two poems are quite comparable in their imagery and viewpoints.The more common type of imagery in "The Lamb" and "Fern Hill" is of religious form. Both poets viewed childhood as a time of god-like innocence. During the romantic era, the child became a symbol of so much that was greatly valued in human nature, not only intuition and the imagination but also innocence, untainted by the corruptions of the "experienced". Blake further established these ideas with "The Lamb". He describes the lamb as symbol of childhood innocence, questioning how it was brought into existence, and suggesting that it was made by a god-like being. Blake constantly questions creation and religion, bringing up the theme of divine intervention and how all creatures were created. The second stanza reveals that the lamb's creator calls himself a lamb, referring to the New Testament, in which Jesus is seen as God's lamb. The traditional image of Jesus as a lamb emphasizes the values of gentleness, meekness, and peace. The image of the child is also associated with Jesus; Jesus displays a special consideration for children, and the Bible's depiction of Jesus in his childhood shows him as honest and vulnerable. This poem acknowledges what Blake saw as the more positive aspects of conservative Christian beliefs."Fern Hill" is an account of the delights and freedom of childhood seen from the viewpoint of a child, but ends with a sense of mortality. The re-creation of the childhood experience produces an imaginative and spiritual poetry in which, as in "The Lamb", youth assumes holiness. Phrases like "the calves/ Sang to my green horn", "the cock on his shoulder: it was all/ Shining, it was Adam and maiden" or "And the Sabbath sang slowly/In the pebbles of the holy streams" give allusion to religious visions in nature. It is said that Thomas' deep concern with water and the sea may have been induced by his first name, Dylan, meaning "son of the sea". In "Fern Hill" water imagery arises in the last couplet: "Time held me green and dying/Though I sang in my chains by the sea."Blake and Thomas both show a childlike viewpoint in these poems, thrusting us further...

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