Can someone help me with the poem, " The Sick Rose"? As in analyse it :)O Rose thou art sick. The invisible worm, That flies in the night In the howling storm: Has found out thy bed Of...

Can someone help me with the poem, " The Sick Rose"?

As in analyse it :)

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

Expert Answers
Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It's not surprising that this poem, "The Sick Rose," is one of the twenty-six poems found in the "experience" section of William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience.  The rose is a traditional and literary symbol of love, purity, beauty, and perfection; a poem which discussed the rose with these attributes might be found in Songs of Innocence.  Instead, this is a sick rose--innocence has been lost, disease has taken over, and the rose, the love, is no longer perfect. 

A worm has made its insidious way into the bed of roses and it's only a matter of time before the beauty is destroyed from within.  This is clear in a literal sense, as worms do corrode the beauty of flowers.  It can also be true in the figurative sense, as it is often the invisible things which destroy love (of which the rose is a primary symbol) from the inside.  Here there is the dual meaning in the words "bed" and "love," implying a more literal than symbolic sickness of love.  Innocence and love have been lost.

Read the study guide:
Songs of Innocence and of Experience

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