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This short, two quatrain poem by Blake is one of his most famous. It's dark and violent imagery is striking, and many people read the eight short lines and come away with in a dark mood.
First, the poem takes a widely recognized symbol of love, especially romantic love, the Rose, and shows its potential ugly side. According to the poem, the "dark secret" love is sick, infected, and related to death. This love is not the love that inspires the giving of flowers and Shakespearean sonnets, but the kind the "flies in the night."
One interpretation goes farther and claims the poem only speaks of lustful love and not any other lasting or pure love, and that it why it is loaded with such harsh diction and imagery.
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