Williams Blake was born on the 28th November 1757 in London where he remained for most of his life. He was educated at home by his mother until 1767 when he was sent to Henry Pars drawing school. At the age of fourteen, he became an apprentice to James Basirethe engraver and after studying at royal academy school he started to produce water. Colours and engravings for magazines. In 1783 he married Catherine Boucher. Some f Blake’s earliest poems were written at the age of twelve and his first book of poems was produced in 1783 (poetical sketches), and this was later followed by (songs of Innocence) in 1789, and (songs of Experience) in 1794.
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I love to rise in a summer morn,
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the sky-lark sings with me.
O! What sweet company.
But to go to school in a summer morn,
O! It drives all joy away;
Under a cruel eye outworn.
The little ones spend the day,
In sighing and dismay.
Ah! Then at times I drooping sit,
And spend many an anxious hour,
Nor in my book can I take delight,
Nor sit in learning’s bower,
Worn thro’ with the dreary shower.
How can the bird that is born for joy,
Sit in a cage and sing.
How can a child when fears annoy.
But droop his tender wing.
And forget his youthful spring.
O! Father& mother, if buds are nip’d,
And blossoms blown away,
And if the tender plants are stripped
Of their joy in the springing day,
By sorrow and care’s dismay
How shall the summer arise in joy.
Or the summer fruits appear.
Or how shall we gather what grief’s destroy
Or bless the mellowing year
The speaker in the poem is a young boy who cherishes rising up in the fresh and enjoyable, summer morning. The cheeping of the birds announces the day break. The boy gets entertained by the slender company of the hunter who blows his clarion form a distance field and sweet lullabies of sky-lark.
In the 2nd slender: the speaker express his disappointment in attending school in a sweet summer morning where he desires to derives pleasure in the mirth of summer it weakens and burden him to study under a discipline teacher who supervises hi actions. “Under a cruel eye outworn” the boy is embittered with school system, and wondered why the pleasure of pleasant, summer should be substituted with the compulsory and constant school going system where boredom replaces childhood happiness.
In stanza 3: Expresses the boy’s weariness in the system. He sits drooping out in the sea of tediousness. The boy restrains the assault on him by the oppressive personality of the teacher and unnecessary lectures (shower of meaningless words) the finicky teacher gushes his words of erudition without even attempting to understand the boy’s aspiration and his desire for unchecked freedom. The learning bower represent a garden where the boy can study in a natural atmosphere with nature, which is totally devoid of the teacher’s interference.
In stanza 4: the speaker likens his situation to that of a bird. He declares that bird that is born cheerful and jovial can never sing sweet songs if restricted in a cage. In the same vain, a child places under umbrella of intimidation, fear, tension, uninspiring teacher can not experience the natural instincts of joy, and playfulness. Obviously, a world full of rigid course of discipline will ruthlessly take away the beautiful spring (the precious childhood days) of one’s life.
In stanza 5: the boy complains to the education authorize, to parents, desiring that if a budding child is picked and swept of in the early stage of life and is thrown in an ocean of anguish, where there is no one to care, if Misery withers the tender plants the beautiful buds and the new buds, summer can never ever be joyful.
In stanza 6: the boy warns that if care and concern is enthrone to rule over the plants, Flowers, birds such a summer will be dry and will bear no fruit. He further desires from his parents how, how they can recover what grief has destroyed. Saying further that if the plants are withered due to canker of grief, no fruit will be there in the season of autumn(mellowing year), by implication, the child means , that if childhood pleasures and joys are restricted and truncated, the adult life will be drab and fruitless.
The poem discuss a boy’s repelling comparison at his school, his company from the animate objects of summer morning (bird’s flowers etc.) to the unanimated object of his school is certainly a matter of concern and grief. School life is an ordeal for him.
The boy’s feeling of summer festivity is countered by the terrifying eye of the teacher that robs from him all his childhood happiness. School is nothing but prison that negates the playful activity of childhood. The restriction or imposing in school form a hurdle for the natural expression of the creativity and forlorn the essence of genuine.
2) Rigid school training kills skill and creativity in a growing child.
3) Parents should endeavour to relax the rigid control over their wards.
4) The compulsory formal education that is begins formulated by the adult without the input of the children who bear the consequence of their parent’s action should be revisited to add more leisure for the young stars to exercise themselves properly. After all our work and no play makes jack a mere toy.
In this poem, Blake contrasts the freedom and joy of nature with the oppressive atmosphere of the school. The schoolboy longs to enjoy the beauty of nature in the summer morning, but his experience at school dampens his spirits. He sees the education system as a confinement that suppresses his joy and natural inclinations.
The poet also draws a parallel between the schoolboy and a caged bird. Just as a caged bird cannot fully express its natural instincts, the child’s spirit is restrained by the fears and pressures of the education system. Blake questions how a child can flourish and thrive when subjected to such constraints, suggesting that their natural innocence and vitality are stifled.
“The School Boy” is a reflection on the loss of childhood freedom and the impact of societal structures on the individual. Through vivid imagery and emotional depth, Blake conveys his concerns about the educational practices of his time and the impact they have on children’s well-being and development.
Discuss William Blake’s “schoolboy” as a protest poem.