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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Human Abstract


Pity would be no more
If we did not make somebody poor, 

And Mercy no more could be

If all were as happy as we.

And mutual fear brings Peace, 

Till the selfish loves increase; 

Then Cruelty knits a snare, 

And spreads his baits with care.

He sits down with holy fears, 

And waters the ground with tears;
Then Humility takes its root

Underneath his foot.

Soon spreads the dismal shade

Of Mystery over his head, 

And the caterpillar and fly
Feed on the Mystery.

And it bears the fruit of Deceit,
Ruddy and sweet to eat, 

And the raven his nest has made
In its thickest shade.

The gods of the earth and sea
Sought through nature to find this tree, 

But their search was all in vain: 

There grows one in the human Brain.
            William Blake

Through out this entire poem, it talks about opposites. There would be no pity if no one were poor. There could be no mercy if everyone was happy. The reason there is pity and mercy is because we make it that way. If we were kind to everyone and if we treated them equally, then there would be no need for these things. It says, “Mutual fear brings Peace, Till the selfish loves increase.” We would be able to have peace if we didn’t let love get in the way. I am not necessarily talking about love for another person, but love for things such as greed and power. These things have been known to destroy the greatest of leaders and lead to war. It talks about cruelty having care. Since when has anyone ever had care while being cruel? All of these things are opposites that we create in order to try to understand them. In Blake’s poetry, he talks about a lot of opposites. We cannot exist with out having opposites in our lives. Or can we? At the end of the poem, it talks about how the gods of the earth and sea look for these things and where they are created. But they aren’t natural creations, the human mind creates these things. Why is it then that we need opposites? Is it to feel comfortable with our selves? Or is it an excuse to do horrible things such as murder and stealing? According to Blake, there needs to be opposition in all things. How can we know good if we do not know evil? This is the real reason for opposites. Our life would just be simple, and useless if we did not know right from wrong. I think that is one of the main points that Blake proves in his poetry. We have pity because we have the poor. We are happy because we have mercy. The gods of the earth and sea can’t find this, because they aren’t human. We create it just as Blake has, and every other person in the history of the earth.

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