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A Dream Analysis

Author: Poetry of William Blake Type: Poetry Views: 1893

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Once a dream did weave a shade

O'er my angel-guarded bed,

That an emmet lost its way

Where on grass methought I lay.

Troubled, wildered, and forlorn,

Dark, benighted, travel-worn,

Over many a tangle spray,

All heart-broke, I heard her say:

"Oh my children! do they cry,

Do they hear their father sigh?

Now they look abroad to see,

Now return and weep for me."

Pitying, I dropped a tear:

But I saw a glow-worm near,

Who replied, "What wailing wight

Calls the watchman of the night?

"I am set to light the ground,

While the beetle goes his round:

Follow now the beetle's hum;

Little wanderer, hie thee home!"


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

The beetle was also said to be the cause behind the sun making its arc through the sky. So \"while the beetle goes his round\" could just mean night-time, not \"rounds\" like a guard/guide. When the sun is gone the glow worm will fill in and they should travel to where they will find the true light again (by following the \"beetle\'s hum\"). So beetle=sun/spiritual knowledge/god, x knowledge, works for me!

| Posted on 2012-09-12 | by a guest

.: :.

the poem is about an a mother ant that gets lost (suggesting innocence)an glow worm lights the way and tells her to follow the beetle home. This peom is generally happy as the ant gets help (suggesting help is there is you want it) but looking deeper asks the question, did the ant actually get home? this could suggets the world isnt as nice as it seems. the poem focuses on innocene and niaevity, suggesting a loss of reality.

| Posted on 2011-09-29 | by a guest

.: :.

The “Dream” is our collective mythology. The gods, goddesses, heroes and saviors (I e the glow-worm) light the way. Light the way to what? To the way of nature, “the beetles hum”. The beetle or scarab is a metaphor for re-birth. It symbolically comes out of the mud resurrected. The beetle’s hum is AUM.

| Posted on 2011-09-16 | by a guest

.: :.

Please ignore the 2009-4-24 comment linking this poem to Robert Emmet, who was only 11 when the poem was first published in 1789. Emmet simply means ant.

| Posted on 2010-11-29 | by a guest

.: :.

blah blah blah blah blah blah .blah blah .blah belchhhh .pukkit.

| Posted on 2010-11-09 | by a guest

.: :.

This poem shows a childs dream which is mainly about an ant, which has lost his way. He is worrying and “pitying” as put in the text, when he is found. The ant meets a glow-worm who shows him the way home. He is the light to the path and what i believe to be Jesus. The ant also meets a beetle who is “set to light the ground” as he “goes his round”. I believe this may be God himself or the word of God instead, who is preaching out to people. I think this poem could be the story of how William Blake came to believe in God or have faith.

| Posted on 2010-08-23 | by a guest

.: :.

Understanding that Blake wrote the Songs of Innocence (SoI) originally as part of a novel "An Island in the Moon," which was a satire against the frivolous nature of society at his time. He wrote this long before he'd even planned to write Songs of Experience, one can't assume that this poem (along with the rest of SoI) is meant to lead into another stage of life, as some readers suggest. You must take this poem's compendium as a stand-alone item.
In that respect, SoI have all shared a pastoral, nursery rhyme quality - a connection with nature but still very religious. In Christianity, the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those with faith as a child, and that innocence allows them to accept the angels over their beds and so forth.
What strikes me is the darker nature in this poem, near the end of SoI, and even with the watchman guiding the path at the end of this poem, we aren't given an exact resolution. With so many other poems in SoI espousing the beauty of the world and religion, this poem seems to show us a darker side.

| Posted on 2010-05-21 | by a guest

.: :.

I like the Emmet perspective that's cool
well this poem could also be deciphered alongside methods of dream analysis, such as Freud and Jung, and even Swedenborg as Blake was influenced by him
Also its interesting to put the poem in perspective with Blake's Cycle of Destiny which outlines three respective states of humanity- innocence, experience and Higher Innocence- the whole purpose of Songs of Innocence and Experience is that both innocence and experience are inevitable states of human life and if we learn to accept and adopt each collectively we can ascend to this Higher Innocence. It is a human status that far surpasses the ignorance of childhood innocence. The narrator is innocent and the ant is somewhat experienced being 'travel worn' and 'dark' reflecting the effect life has had upon her, however she is still ignorant or 'benighted'. The glow worm points to home, but in no sense is 'home' to be viewed as the materialistic place of residence. Blake was a firm believer in God and spirituality, and even if you don't believe in things like this it is important to understand that 'home' for Blake would have meant residing within God. In this instance the glow worm calls the ant and the persona to view the world in a visual ('I am set to light the ground') and a verbal sense ('Now follow the beetle's hum'). This is an observation very much in line with the poet's construction and presentation of his own poems, inscribed in copper with illustrations bordering the margin. This can be linked with the poet's view of external objects with a combination of external perception and internal imagination.
So could the poem be providing an insight into how the transition to Higher Innocence? The only problem I have is the symbolic representation of the Glow worm and the Beetle- is the Beetle the word of God, and the Glow worm possibly the human imagination?? Also dreams for Blake were expressions of the raw desires of humanity- the angel guarding the bed can be seen as the Church, and the dream establishes a 'shade' dividing Church doctrine from infiltrating the pure inspiration and desire of the narrator's dream (most likely a child).

| Posted on 2010-03-21 | by a guest

.: :.

after reading this poem a few times i came to a conclusion that its about a child's innocence at a young age who is lost and finding/learning about things.and of course it symbolizes many things such as how the glow worm could be jesus showing the emmet its path on home. but it also connects with the childs learning to in the dream.

| Posted on 2010-01-20 | by a guest

.: :.

I believe that this poem aptly portrays innocence in the most purist form. It simply shows that someone who is lost and helpless, will eventually find someone to help free them from their situation of distress. Note: the angel-guarded bed and the glow-worm light and the Beetle's hum.

| Posted on 2009-11-30 | by a guest

.: :.

I too noticed the possibility of a religious allegory, especially as Blake uses the phrase 'angel guarded bed', and refers to darkness and light. Perhaps Blake is illustrating how he came to have faith. How he once was lost, but now is found, much like the ant. The glow-worm represents light and maybe even Jesus, because he lights the way to God. And when I read the poem a few times over I'm sure I detected a hint/suggestion of the prodigal son parable. And what's even more incredible is that I am not even religious.

| Posted on 2009-05-15 | by a guest

.: :.

these other interpritations are way off the mark.the poem to me is based on the romantic notion of love in regard to robert emmet and his untimely demise over his love affair of sarah curran.its also about the french notion of revolution involved in the tragic story of the 1803 revolt led by robert emmet.if you know the story and are aware of blakes feelings on the matter it becomes fairly obvious.

| Posted on 2009-04-24 | by a guest

.: My opinion :.

This poem is about a boy, like everyone above has commented and he dreams of an ant lying in a field of grass. He see's a mother ant, all frustrated and emotions splayed (5,6), she has lost her children and it is a highly disturbing dream. The ant is described as "travel worn" so she could have been looking for her children for a while.

The narrator's looks of pity are reprimanded by a passing glow worm who calls him a "wailing wight" (16). Subsequently the glow worm asks him to rush home. Now, the glow worm could be addressing the boy or the ant.

In short this poem could mean how sometimes even pitying for a fellow being is scorned about in this world.

| Posted on 2007-09-22 | by a guest

.: funny how things change :.

when i first read this poem i was completely convinced that it was a depressing journey. But after long hours of study for my college level class i came to the conclusion that this poem is nothing more that a light-hearted child dreaming of an unknown world

| Posted on 2007-01-25 | by a guest

.: Tip :.

Read this poem along with "Cradle Song" and it will be easier to understand. It'll allow you to compare the corresponding poem in "Songs of Innocence" to this poem. This should definately help you understand the poem better because you'll be able to see the change in history that occured between the writing of these two poems and be able to better interpret the child's dream of the wandering ant. Because in "Cradle Song" he stresses the idea that the mother is watching over the newborn child and now the child dreams of a lost ant searching for her children...

| Posted on 2006-01-29 | by Approved Guest

.: Simple Things :.

My question reading this is, how deep is it? I'm struck by the seeming simplicity of some classics. Always look up the difficult words. Emmet is an ant. The child dreams of a lost bug, and interactions in the bug world. Is it mere childish whimsy? An expression of innocence? Is there some larger religious allegory going on? "Little wanderer" is the Emmet, but is it also the dreamer? We don't know much about the dreamer, other than that he dreams about bugs. Why would he dream his bed is a grassy field? Is that a recurring Blake symbol? Is there some greater context from the collection of poems or Blakes life that we can apply here, to enrich our understanding of the poem, or should we just enjoy it's clarity and the talking bugs?

| Posted on 2005-10-25 | by Approved Guest

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