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The Sick Rose

William Blake

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Why not a priest?
2003-01-19
Added by: Tania
Did it occur to anyone that a priest can rape a woman, and that he is an invisible worm, because noo one sees him for whom he really is?
Actually, it is about a priest.
2003-01-19
Added by: Tania
Although all of your thoughts are great, most scholars do agree that it is about a priest. During Blake's tiume, the phrase "invisible worm" represented the priesthood which in Blake's eyes, was not as godly as they claimed.
2003-01-21
Added by: Dayne
In ORDER to understand this poem, it is important to reader the other works that Blake published with it, in his book "Songs of experience." There is a common theme among all of his poems, the innocent being exploited. Within this poem, Blake refers to a Harlot who has contracted syphillis. She gives it to a man: "his dark secret love," and we brings it back to his wife's bed. Note that it is "HIS dark secret love" not "thy" like in the rest of the stanza. It is his dark secret love that destroys her life.
I changed my mind
2003-01-22
Added by: Tania
I read all the poems in the collection and realized that the invisible worm is not an actual person, but rather the guilt that one obtains through the belief in Religion, politics, reason, and logic. Blake was opposed to reason because he saw it as limiting the natural flow of energy of the body, he prefered the imagination and instinct. The howling night is symbolic of ignorance. The dark secret love is the so called love and help that the conscious is supposed to provide, but which in reality only limits and destroyes life. The worm or erroneous limiting beliefs are eating away at her pleasure, (the crimson bed is a symbol of passion and sexuality). The young female is not raped, instead she feels guilt about wanting to express herself sexually.
It's the priest
2003-01-29
Added by: Tricia
The worm signifies the priest. I have studied this poem for Literature for a month, and have read about Blake's life too. The rose does indeed stand for a woman. But love and sexuality certainly do not form the main theme of this poem. The priest (worm) teaches the woman (rose) till she cannot live her life normally. His 'dark secret love' is not lust--it is his preachings.
Meaning
2003-02-02
Added by: JZ
Many of your meanings I agree with, others I think are a bit absurd but that is merely my opinion. In any case, the meaning of this poem is whatever a person wants it to be. It certainly can literally represent a rose getting attacked by a cankerworm. Still, it can also be a virgin getting taken advantage of, or perhaps the destruction of love since a "worm" has been a symbolf or destruction in works such as Milton's Paradise Lost. Nevertheless, my main point it is the poem is intentionally open, different people with different experiences will interpret this poem differently. That is the point.
Another thought
2003-02-20
Added by: Rebecca Sutton
This poem may not be about 2 people (the rose and the worm) but about the inner conflict of one person.

The rose in this context represents human sexuality -- a natural and beautiful thing and true sexual love. The worm are the dark thoughts, jealousy and lust to which humans are prone. These feelings if indulged can damage and even kill love in a person as the worm is killing the rose. It's not about a virgin since the rose has a bed of secret delight. It's about a good thing (eros - sexual love) being destroyed and replaced by a bad thing (lust, jealousy)
The Weakness of Beauty
2003-02-21
Added by: Thoughtful
The weakness of beauty

Can we just stop seeing things FROM sexual perspective? This ‘modern’ world can not think outside sexuality!! Isn’t that our biggest flaw? Us, the moderns…! Let’s think outside the box, even for a moment….

I think what this poem says is:

Your beauty is nothing when you are not as good as ‘Beauty’. The worm represents irresponsibility and absentmindedness. You are beautiful, but when you can not think and do good things, it is nothing. Furthermore, your beauty will become your enemy and leads you to a hell. The ‘Rose’ is beautiful, but it is weak as well; it is not strong to face the difficulties and challenges of life. Wind would destroy it, and a worm will bit it. Beauty is when there is power and thought.

2003-03-16
Added by: Rose Brooks
The Crimson rose represents mourning, adding to the sadness of its death.
Is it really about sex ?
2003-03-14
Added by: The Calligraphist
my first language is not English. i'm studying english literature, and i am in no way an equal to any of you, since i have read very little of english literature, but when i look at my native language's literature, people tend to study the era in which the poet lived.. was rape a very common thing at Blake's time ? did any of this happen to Blake ? i mean what does he think about religion and priests in general ? if this worm symbolizes a priest.

thanks

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