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Additional resources for Blake’s Night Thoughts
It seems impossible to go further, especially when ‘night is worn’ is the time of ‘the evening dew’ – night giving way to evening, and to more fragmentation. ‘Night is worn’ compares with the sunflower ‘weary of time’. As in ‘The Ecchoing Green’ ‘the little ones weary / No more can be merry’ so the daytime wearies or wears out the sunflower; and the night is worn out. 472–3). The pole might be a form of guidance revealed at night in Shakespeare (Hamlet I. i. 36, 37), but not in Blake. In the other use of ‘pole’ in Songs of Experience, ‘the night had veil’d the pole’ (‘A Poison Tree’).
That may be the irony behind ‘Christian Forbearance’: he forbears acknowledging what he has done. e. the rule – (E. 34, K. 149), while ‘Active Evil is better than Passive Good’ (E. 592, K. 77). In the third poem, the speaker’s responses, having seen the chapel and the people outside, and the serpent’s entry are equally strange. 7 That induces the response: ‘So I turn’d into a sty / And laid me down among the swine’. Is the serpent an aspect of the self, which induces another nauseated reaction which produces further degradation?
In ‘Ah! Sun-flower’, ‘golden’ appears for its only time in Experience (only twice in Innocence: ‘The Little Girl Found’ and ‘The Little Black Boy’, both implying an ‘other’ state), but the poem may recall ‘Fear no more the heat o’ the sun’ from Cymbeline, whose couplet aligned opposites in: ‘Golden lads and girls all must / As chimneysweepers, come to dust’ (Cymbeline IV. ii. 14 Blake has many chimney sweepers, but neither the youth nor the virgin are white, being out of the sun – ‘chaste as unsunn’d snow’ (Cymbeline II.