Saturday, April 23, 2005

Blake's Holy Thursday

I've been told I need to learn and adhere to blog etiquette, so I will not be continuing conversations from pervious days on other persons' blogs of which I am guilty of on matt's blog ("Comments" 3-21-05). Oh what the hell, I can't even try to follow the rules.

(So I never know whether matt is kidding when he says he doesn't know something--perhaps I am saying the obvious, but here goes.)

Blake has two parallel poems (various similar versions) named "Holy Thursday" in "Songs of Innocence and of Experience" (1789).

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Apparently, in England, Maunday Thursday was the day when the church felt guilty enough to clean up the streets and get the heathen homeless children into costume to impress the diocese that they had done a good deed for Holy season. (Wow, was that one terrible sentence.) The first poem (in the Innocence section) begins,

"'Twas on a holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two and two, in red, and blue, and green:"

Sounds nice enough, especially after they perform their song raising their innocent hands to heaven:

"O what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!"

Yet their innocence is contrived and hypocrisy abounds among the congregation as evident in Blake's accompanying poem by the same title (in Experience, of course):

"Is this a holy thing to see
In a rich and fruitful land, -
Babes reduced to misery,
Fed with cold and usurous hand?

Is that trembling cry a song?
Can it be a song of joy?
And so many children poor?
It is a land of poverty!"

By calling attention to England's orphans during a time when people want to feel ok about their spiritual condition and their community service, Blake undermines the spiritual with the real (political). Blake is all about these contraries (eg. innocence and experience, black and white, etc.): “Without contraries there is no progression,” he says.

Well, I think I need to work on my "tone" (for better etiquette) since my recent blogs have sounded too preachy and overly assertive.

So does anyone have any good papers on Coleridge or Blake lying around--say, 10-15 pages?


Blogger d press productions said...

i must be out of the loop lately. what the proper blog etiquette?

12:48 PM  
Blogger mattreed said...

I agree. I think that if there is such a thing as blog etiquette, we should do our best to break it as much as possible.

Intesting about Holy Thursday. Is it considered one of Blake's famous poems? Like the one about the Tiger and the one about the Satanic Mills? I only heard of it last year.

6:11 PM  
Blogger billiam said...

um... want to see terrible blog etiquette? look at rew's. just kidding, i don't know what etiguette is, i still eat with my fingers, and dig holes in the ground to go poo in.

1:57 PM  

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