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What are the themes in "How sweet I roamed from field to field" by William Blake?

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enotes | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted February 6, 2013 at 5:40 PM via web

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What are the themes in "How sweet I roamed from field to field" by William Blake?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 7, 2013 at 7:22 AM (Answer #1)

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The central theme of this poem is that of entrapment. The speaker is presented as being some kind of fairy, as she has "wings," yet it is clear that Blake is being ambiguous about the presentation of the speaker. Although he makes reference to how she is trapped in a cage by the so-called "Prince of Love," it is clear that he also presents the female speaker through anthropomorphism as being human. Note the following quote:

He shew'd me lilies for my hair,

And blushing roses for my brow;

He led me thro' his gardens fair

Where all his golden pleasures grow.

Blake deliberately presents the Prince of Love in the guise of seducer and the speaker in the role of the blushing, innocent maid, that clearly points to the symbolic meaning of the story of this fairy who is trapped in the net of the Prince of Love and made to sing for him in his cage. The story is about seduction and the dangers of passion, and how young women can be led astray by "the Prince of Love" and find themselves entrapped as a result.


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