There was an error in this gadget

Thursday, December 30, 2010

I Heard an Angel

I heard an Angel singing
When the day was springing
‘Mercy, Pity, Peace
Is the world’s release.’

Thus he sung all day
Over the new mown hay,
Till the sun went down
And haycocks looked brown.

I heard a Devil curse
Over the health and the furze,
‘Mercy could be no more,
If there was nobody poor,

And pity no more could be,
If all we happy as we.
At his curse the sun went down,
And the heavens gave a frown.

Down poured the heavy rain
Over the new reaped grain…
Is Mercy, Pity, Peace.

William Blake

In William Blake’s “I Heard an Angel” he is trying to show the angel as God trying to tell us how to make the world a better place by using mercy, pity, and peace. Blake grew up in the time of the French Revolution where England was “oppressed” and full of poverty. Blake was very much influenced by the bible and was said that he had visions. In this poem, the angel was singing as he watched over the day showing that God was around and making sure that man knew that the way to Mercy and Peace was through him. Blake used an oxymoron with a devil saying that if everyone was happy and no one was poor then you would not need mercy, pity, peace. This is a contradiction because even the rich are in need of Mercy, Pity, and Peace. In the Bible the devil temps man into eating the fruit of knowledge, which is the beginning of people being of misery, wrath, and war, there is no social division to the condemnation of the wrath of God for Adam & Eve’s mistake. William Blake put these figures in the poem because of how they are viewed religiously showing good and evil. The haycock turning brown represents man listening and following the angel’s advice at the end of the day. This is also showing that during the day (or in the light) things are going good but when darkness falls doubt appears and then doubts, fears and confusions come (hence the Devil makes his appearance). The Devil makes his curse in the time of darkness, when he finished his curse and the heavens frown. This is showing that God is frowning on humanity for taking the devils advice in the Garden of Eden. Then when rain is pouring down on the newly reaped grain, it is showing God is forgiving and willing to give a second chance for mercy pity and peace. Thus, God has overcome the Devil and that man has a new chance for a new beginning. Blake used the rain as the cleansing agent from God, which is Mercy or Forgiveness.  


  1. Because of Martha Redbone's beautiful song using the poem as text, I found my way here. Thank you for your interpretation.